Foster care is definitely better for children than institutionalization. But being a foster parent isn’t easy, and people who decide to do so need to have someone to turn to for advice or help. For them, there is the association Reason and Emotion, which has been helping them for more than twenty years.
According to Mariana Kroftová, head of the Prague branch of Rozum a Cit and guide in families, foster parents have long struggled with misunderstanding and weak public and political support: “Doctors, schools or authorities do not are not well versed in the formalities and must constantly explain their role.”
He can be a foster parent a married couple, but also an individual or a family member. Children who, for whatever reason (for example, the disagreement of the biological parents) cannot be adopted, are entrusted to foster parents. Custody is necessary for the necessary time (for example, in cases where the parents are temporarily unable to care for the child for financial or medical reasons), sometimes it lasts until adulthood. Foster parents tend to be financially rewarded for this. What myths circulate about foster care and what is the truth about them?
Myth 1. Children in institutions lack for nothing
About 8,000 children grow up in institutions. They live in a collective environment and with benevolent “aunts” who take turns. On the other hand, the goal of foster care is for the adoptive parents to become surrogate parents for the child. The child will thus grow up in a natural family environment and will take on behavioral patterns to function in a normal family. Children have the right not only to food and clothing, but also to cuddles and love. The best orphanage cannot.
Myth 2. Raising your own child and the one in your care is no different
Even raising your own child isn’t always a walk in the rose garden. Even less entrusted, it is even more difficult. Not only do foster parents have to deal with, for example, developmental delay due to neglected upbringing, abuse, abuse or the death of a parent and other difficulties caused by the lack of emotional connections that are so important for healthy mental and physical development. But at the same time, they have to take care of the formal side, communicate with the authorities, explain what their role is, etc.
Myth 3. It’s just work
The psyche of surrogate parents is often overwhelmed and feels helpless. Even if they are in preparation, the reality can surprise them with its complexity. The truth is that about 200 children have to leave foster families each year because, unfortunately, foster care was not possible for various reasons.
However, there are many other cases when a child fits into a family and manages to overcome all the problems. It is often difficult for foster parents to leave an emotional bond with them (for example, if the biological parent’s economic conditions improve). What is the key to success? Among other things, support, information and education, for example with the help of Reason and Cit vzw.
The role of the support organization
How do reason and emotion work? Daniela Kuhnová, executive director of the organisation, explains: “A key social worker is in regular contact with his family, at least once every two months in person and through other channels, he regularly identifies their specific needs. It answers the questions of the foster parents, helps to understand and address the specific behaviors of the child, ensures regular education of the surrogate parents and, if necessary, helps in contact with the biological family or the authorities of the child. ‘child. »
Zlatica Macková is also one of the actively cooperating foster parents. She takes care of little Maruška and is in fact both adoptive mother and grandmother. He has two daughters aged 25 and 16. Age she was born with a mental disability and when she became pregnant it was clear that the grandmother would take care of the child. And because it was clear to her that she would need help, both financial and advisory, she formally applied for foster care.
It is not easy. Ms Mack says she has three faces – one for her granddaughter, one for her disabled daughter and one for the healthy one. She had to arrange the apartment so that everyone had their space. She does her best to develop a little girl, to support a high school girl in education and to deal with bullying and friendships with her, but also to supervise her daughter with a disability so that nothing happens to her and let no one hurt him.
Where does Zlatica Macková draw her strength? “It just occurred to me. But sometimes I pick up Maruška in a pram, turn off the phone and walk around the sights. And I think Karel Gott could have come here too. I plays quietly at home so as not to wake up Maruška, an old film. And I like to visit reception groups, where we share our experiences and learn from each other.”
Foster Parents and News
The recently approved amendment to the Law on Social and Legal Protection of Children brings some changes in the situation of foster families and children who need them.
With the exception of children (eg for serious health reasons), children under the age of 3 will not be placed in institutions, ie children’s homes. They will grow up with one or two caring and stable foster parents.
Direct financial support is introduced for young adults from alternative family care, who continue their studies after reaching the age of majority. There is also a significant increase in financial support for temporary adoptive parents, who care the most for small babies, and rewards for so-called long-term professional adoptive parents.