Fostering and adoption
Fostering is a way of providing a family environment life for children who, for whatever reason, cannot live with their own parents. Fostering is often used as temporary care while parents get help sorting out problems or to help children through a difficult period in their lives.
Sometimes children will return to their parents once the problems have been resolved, while others may be adopted or simply move out to live independently, if they are of an age to do so.
There are different types of fostering:
- Emergency shelter - where children need somewhere safe to stay for a nights or a few nights.
- Short-term - maybe for a few weeks or months, while plans are made for the child's future.
- Short-breaks or respite care - where disabled children or children with special needs or behavioural difficulties enjoy a short stay on a pre-planned, regular basis with a new family, and their parents or usual foster carers have a short break for themselves.
- Long-term - not all children (who cannot return to their own families) want to be adopted, especially older children or those who continue to have regular contact with relatives. These children live with long-term foster carers until they reach adulthood and are ready to live independently.
Most countries provide training and support for foster-parents. Some countries have not yet developed a strong foster-care network and NGOs fill this role, while assisting the development of the national network.
If you are interested in fostering, but can not find your local network, please contact REPLACE and we will help you.
When there is no possibility for a child to return home to their parents, attempts will be made to see if anyone else in the family can care for them. If this is not possible, a family must be found who can provide permanence for the child, to allow them to feel as secure as possible. This either happens through long term fostering or through adoption.
When a child is in foster care, the child's parents or the local authority still have legal responsibility for the child, but when a child is adopted, all legal responsibility for the child passes to the new parents.
If a foster carer decides that they want to adopt a child, they can ask to be assessed as a possible adopter for that child. Their suitability will be considered in the same way as anyone else applying to adopt.
Ideally, adopters will be of the same community as the child, however many successful adoptions do happen across cultures and across national borders. There have been, and there continues to be, many instances of abuse in the process of adopting across national borders and great care needs to be taken so as not to be an unwitting participant of child trafficking.
The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption is the guide to best practice in this matter and should be read and understood by all those considering adopting a child from abroad.
Please support the REPLACE Campaign. Our objective is to get all children who are in orphanages placed into loving families and to prevent those who are at risk, from going into orphanages.