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Number of people willing to become foster parents skyrockets after documentary series "Life as it is: Foster families"

© UNICEF Bulgaria / 2011

SOFIA, 7 March 2011 – Supernova Media, bTV and UNICEF documentary series Life as It Is: Foster Families has prompted an enormous interest in the public. The number of people in the country who are set to take care of a foster child has been growing ever bigger after the show’s start in December of last year.

The reverberation was tremendous even after the first episode on 12 December when the regional foster care centres managed by UNICEF Bulgaria were flooded with calls from hundreds of viewers touched by the abandoned children’s fate. Social workers admit that the first episodes of Life as It Is: Foster Families which were aired provoked the people’s stronger civil position with respect to children in institutions and awoke that outdated responsiveness and desire to help another person.

Some people were so impressed with the stories of the show’s characters that they called the national foster care hot line with enquiries about specific children they liked on “TV.”

The documentary series has been the subject of strong comments, mostly in Shumen and Targovishte, where last year ended with twice as many applications filed by people willing to raise a child in their family to give the child a chance of a better future.

Despite the crisis, statistics shows that for 2010 the number of foster families in the country went up and, at present, they are more than 600. Most of them are ready to take on another child in their home.

As a result of the Life as It Is show and UNICEF’s foster care campaign Every Child Wants a Family, there has been a significant increase in the interest expressed by foster parent applicants. So far, close to 600 information meetings have been held in the regional centres under UNICEF Bulgaria’s project throughout the country with more than 8,000 participants and 211 foster parent applicants have been trained. For a period of one year, by the end of January 2011, another 122 families were approved in the nine regions. 106 children have found foster families since the start of the project.

Life as It Is: Foster Families is a joint project of Supernova Media, bTV and UNICEF which has drawn the viewers to the abandoned children’s fate and the foster parents’ stories since December of last year. In the episodes, the Life as It Is team has followed the entire process – from the idea to its final realisation – to receive a child and all follow-up moments and emotions. Every Sunday at 11:00 am on bTV, viewers witnessed the complex relations and interrelationships between the children, their foster and biological parents.

We all believe that these human emotional stories have not only touched the viewers’ hearts deeply but that they have been truly convinced that the best thing for every child is to be raised in a family. Because to be a foster parent one only needs to open a little space in one’s heart and bestow the love and warmth on a child that will make the child happy.

About UNICEF Bulgaria’s project Every Child Wants a Family
UNICEF’s project Every Child Wants a Family which started in 2009 aims to develop foster care in the country. UNICEF’s activities include the creation of regional foster care centres in nine regions in the country: Sofia City, Sofia Region, Gabrovo, Pernik, Stara Zagora, Targovishte, Smolyan, Shumen and Tarnovo. Regional foster care teams have been set up which recruit, train and support foster family applicants and foster families who have already been approved.

UNICEF and its non-governmental partners, the International Social Service, the Social Activities and Practices Institute and the Samaritans Association, are working towards creating a uniform regional model for the development of the foster care service and a uniform training program for prospective foster parents and for trainers.

For further information:

Tsvetelina Bonova
Communications and Public Relations
UNICEF Bulgaria
Telephone: 02-96-96-207, 0882-42-44-43
Email: tbonova@unicef.org

 

 

 

 

More photos

Check out the UNICEF Bulgaria photo gallery for more images from the campaign

UNICEF Bulgaria website


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