Challenges for child care in Veliko Tarnovo

On the 24th of April, a meeting of the District DI Coordination Mechanism of Children (DDICMC) was held in the building of the District Administration – Veliko Tarnovo.

The problems that the development of foster care faces in the region were presented. There are eighty-nine foster families which are actively being used, but those for children with disabilities are few and there is a need for new foster parents. Age is also a limiting factor because most of the foster couples are between 50 to 70 years old and live in the villages. Some settlements lack public transport and this prevents the foster families from fostering children with special needs. It also restricts children from using social services.

Until now, foster parents are being hired on civil contracts, or on a project basis, and this limits their selection. Low motivation and a clear perspective are preventing young people from joining foster care.

Elena Petkova, a national expert in child policies to Hope and home for children – Bulgaria (HHC) presented how the Foster Care team can be supported and how the profiles of foster families can be changed so that they can raise children with disabilities. Currently there are 20 families who have no children placed with them.  Meeting other foster parents and overcoming fears regarding diagnoses could be reduced.

Georgi Simeonov, Executive Director of HHC – Bulgaria suggested that the Regional health inspectorate should assist the foster parents and for each particular child the general practitioner should give instructions on how to look after them. Personal involvement and a clear protocol of action when a child’s condition deteriorates will reduce panic and increase response skills. This approach will enable these children to be in a comfortable environment and parents to stay calm.

Another problem that could be distinguished in Veliko Tarnovo region is the high occupancy rate in the Family type placement centers, which is a worrying factor. Even now there are children who are placed in other districts due to the absence of specialized foster parents and foster families. The parents of these children do not have the opportunity to visit them, and this deteriorates the quality of life of the children and leads to problems within the families.

Ivaylo Zdravkov, the Regional governor, pointed out that he would look for an opportunity to build, or if Veliko Tarnovo municipality provided a building, to create a Family type placement center with need of permanent medical care, which the district needs.

The HHC- Bulgaria undertook to consult the functionality of the building when it was decided a Family type placement center with need of permanent medical care to be open.

Foster parents of children with disabilities are very important and their number should be increased because more and more children will need such kind of care service.  HHC – Bulgaria will continue to support the development of foster care at the county level in every way possible to provide the best alternatives for these children.

Inter-institutional dialogue is important so that biological families can be supported to raise their children and only when there is an extreme need should children be transitioned to alternative care.

 

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