EveryChild’s report on foster care: A new international tool
Fostering better care, Improving foster care provision around the world, published by EveryChild, is the second part of a series on positive choices in alternative care. It offers a relevant and comprehensive analysis of foster care.
Following an outline of the resort to this practice worldwide, this report reviews the prerequisites and elements to be taken into account for this measure to be as efficient as possible, including legal and more pragmatic aspects for social workers.
The authors start with the statement that numerous efforts remain to be made for the option of foster care to be incorporated into child protection policies in countries, in which there remain cultural and economic obstacles. However, some countries have been able to overcome these difficulties and offer this new placement measure, the important aspect being to adapt the practice to the local context – a guarantee for success. This report presents many examples of good practices in southern countries: in Sudan, Save the Children has developed a foster care programme in a refugee camp, based on the children’s traditional model of education. Despite a difficult context, Guyana has also set up a pilot project for the development of foster care as an alternative to institutionalisation.
In a very pedagogical manner, the authors describe in which framework resorting to foster care is the best alternative for children, and stress the fact that it must be a protection measure that is assessed in accordance with the needs and the best interests of the child; thus, a measure made to measure as every child and every situation are unique. Even though this placement measure offers numerous advantages (a family environment, low costs, the flexibility to adapt to the situation), it also has its limits and risks: for example, it should not substitute family reintegration or mediation initiatives, or be undertaken to the detriment of the support provided to families with difficulties.
It is, therefore, an essential document for all childhood professionals and organisations interested in this practice and willing to set up such a programme in their countries.
The report is available at: http://www.everychild.org.uk/docs/FosteringBetterCare.pdf.
The first report Scaling Down on institutionalisation is available at the following address: http://www.everychild.org.uk/docs/ScalingDown_LowResProof_FINAL.pdf.