How can Poland develop a better deinstitutionalisation strategy?

Eurochild member, Polish Foster Care Coalition, organised a nation-wide conference to discuss next steps on how to prioritise family based foster care in the Polish deinstitutionalisation strategy

On February 24, more than 140 people attended a nation-wide conference on deinstitutionalisation, organised by Polish Foster Care Coalition. The conference included a series of online debates, focused on sharing good practices, experiences and challenges related to the development of family-based alternative care in Poland and some panels also highlighted how research on children in alternative care can play a pivotal role in shaping policies and, ultimately, changing children’s lives.

More than 70% of children, that do not live with their families, grow up in foster families. The Polish government has adopted several programmes to prevent family-child separation and, eventually, move all children out of institutions.

During the conference, Eurochild illustrated how members can effectively advocate for deinstitutionalisation at the EU and national level; while the Martin James Foundation (MJF) described the evolution of child protection in the United Kingdom and explained the professional skills required in foster care. Finally, the Slovak NGO, Navrat, shared how Slovakia transitioned from institutional to family-based care after 1989. The conference marked the end of a technical assistance project carried out by Eurochild and MJF with the Polish Foster Care Coalition.