On 20th of June, 2018 in Burgas, Hope and Homes for Children – Branch Bulgaria organized the next round table on “Improving the interaction in the process of providing foster care as an alternative to institutionalization”. 31 professionals have participated, including representatives of the Regional Social assistance directorate in Burgas, directors of the Social assistance directorates from the municipalities in Burgas district, Child protection departments, Regional educational inspectorate, social services, NGOs, District foster care team and foster parents from Karnobat and Burgas.
The event was opened by Antonia Meserdzhieva, coordinator of Hope and Homes for Children –Bulgaria for Bourgas District. Sevdalina Tourmanova, District Governor, and Chair of the District deinstitutionalisation coordination mechanism in Burgas, welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of foster care in the process of deinstitutionalization. Boryana Klimentova, Program Director of Hope and Homes for Children – Bulgaria, and Kremena Stoyanova, National Child Policy Coordinator in HHC – Bulgaria, also took part in the round table.
The Head of the Foster Care Team, Mrs. Yumuk, presented an up-to-date picture of foster care in Bourgas District. At present, there are 48 approved foster families, 47 professional, 1 voluntary, in the 38 families there are children and 6 are free. An important task for the team is to inform and recruit foster parents for children from 0 to 3 years of age.
The foster parents pointed out the successes and challenges in their responsible work and shared with the participants that children coming from institutions have nothing in common with family-raised children.
The participants discussed the possibilities to improve the interaction between all the partners involved in foster care provision and its role in the process of deinstitutionalization and discontinuation of placement of children in specialized institutions.