ZAGREB, November 11, 2018 – More than 3,000 Croatian children are currently in the alternative care system, 413 of them are fit for adoption while the number of potential adoptive families stands at 1,316, it was said at a conference organised by “Adopta”, an association providing support to potential adopters.
Speakers at the conference spoke about problems and challenges encountered by people wishing to adopt or provide foster care.
Between the start of this year and the end of October, 85 children were adopted, while in 2017 there were 126 adoptions. More than 3,000 children are currently staying in foster families or children’s homes. Of that number, only 413 meet formal conditions for adoption, while at the same time there are 1,316 potential adopters. “This shows that a family can be found for each of those children,” said Adopta head Andreja Turčin.
Turčin said that better statistics in this regard required stepping up procedures to remove a child from parental custody, introducing incentives for adopting more than one child, notably in cases of children who are difficult to adopt, older children, children who are members of minority ethnic groups, or children with difficulties.
Turčin also called for the implementation of the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy adoption protocol from 2016. Under the protocol, for each child for whom a foster family is not found within a period of three months, social care centres are obliged to make an anonymous profile on a protected website. Currently there are only 40 such profiles.
On 31 October, the government sent to parliament a final bill on foster parenting which treats foster care as a job by foster parents who have been unemployed and also provides for specialised foster caring for children with special needs, so that carers in all those cases are properly remunerated.
The Demography, Family, Youth and Social Welfare Minister, Nada Murganić, said then that the bill had been prepared in a bid to improve the current unsatisfactory state of affairs in the field of foster parenting, given that there are not enough foster families and that they are unevenly distributed across the country. The new law enables the continuation of traditional and kinship care, too.
The measures envisaged in the new legislation are meant to improve the conditions of foster carers and to enable younger persons out of work to become foster carers.
The state budget allocations to be set aside for this purpose will be increased by an additional 15.5 million kuna. Thus, a total of 228.5 million kuna will be set aside for foster caring services, and of that amount 183 million kuna will go to children covered by this care and 45.5 million kuna as remuneration to carers.
The new legislation, aimed at encouraging foster parenthood, is designed to raise the number of foster parents and promote foster care for children with special needs.
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