Foster families: a strong pillar of alternative care system for all children
Polish member organised a series of webinars to promote family based foster care in Poland
On October 29, the Polish Foster Care Coalition hosted their first webinar on the development of family foster care for children with disabilities, with the technical assistance of Eurochild and the Martin James Foundation. The webinar is part of a series of five, co-organised in partnership with PFCC member, Pomorska Fundacja na rzecz Rodzinnej Opieki Zastępczej Ania (the Pomerania Foundation for Family Foster Care – Ania).
Around 100 participants joined to hear best practices and personal accounts from local authorities, social services of Gdynia and the Konin district, civil society organisations and foster parents.
In Poland, as in many other countries, children with disabilities do not receive adequate support, which is why our member PFCC started sharing good practices implemented by the Gdynia city and the Konin district, where local authorities have:
- prioritised children with disabilities and their right to grow up in a family;
- created a support system for foster families of children with disabilities;
- developed a wide range of professional foster families for children.
Panellists also discussed how the institutional environment can harm a child’s well-being and how a shift towards a community- and family-based care would be more cost-effective in the long run. As some children with disabilities still need care after turning 18: respite care and supervised housing are also key in supporting carers of children and adults with disabilities.
A foster carer present in the debate shared how taking care of children with special needs brings a lot of joy and satisfaction, especially when the foster carers can count on a strong support system.
While a lot remains to be done at national and local levels, sharing best practices and personal accounts is key to encourage more communities to develop family- and community-based services as well as to recruit more foster carers for children with disabilities.
For more details you can watch the webinar in Polish.
Thematic Coordinator – Children in Alternative Care