On March 7, 2019 in Sofia, Hope and homes for children – Bulgaria held a Round Table on “Improving the interaction in the process of providing foster care as an alternative to institutionalization”. A friendly host of the event was the Regional Administration Sofia City.
The purpose of the Round Table was to look at the mechanisms of interaction and the opportunities for improving the coordination between all the partners in the territory of the Sofia City and Sofia region involved in the process of providing foster care as a measure of child protection in a family environment and social service, provided in the community and its role in the process of deinstitutionalization and termination of placement of children in specialized institutions.
Presentation of the current situation of foster care was made by the regional foster care team of Sofia City and colleagues from Sofia region. Representatives of Child Protection Departments, Social Assistance Directorates, non-governmental organizations have been able to share the successes and challenges of foster care, as well as exchange experiences and working practices.
Active participants in the round table were Mrs. Zhivka Takeva – Deputy Regional Governor of Sofia City District, Mr. Ognian Hristov – Project Manager “Accept Me – 2015”, Mr. Emil Todorov – Director Directorate “Child protection” in Agency for social assistance as well as the representatives of the Social Assistance Directorates, Child protection departments from Sofia city and Sofia Region and representatives of the NGO sector. The problem of lack of foster families and, in particular, foster families for children with special needs was discussed. Enhancing the capacity of child protection workers and foster parents is also key. Other aspects of the discussion were related to the need to strengthen the relationship of foster families with their biological parents as well as team work, which is key.