UNICEF launches national campaign promoting foster care “Every child wants a family”
April 20, 2010, Sofia, Bulgaria – The communication campaign "Every child wants a family” launched by UNICEF today aims at promoting foster care and the right to children to live in family environment. The campaign is supported by representatives of leading institutions of the child protection system in Bulgaria: Mr. Totyu Mladenov, Minister of Labour and Social Policy; Mrs. Valentina Simeonova, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy; Mrs. Nadya Shabani, Chairman of the State Agency for Child Protection, Mr. Ivaylo Ivanov, Executive Director of the Agency for Social Assistance, Mrs. Sabina Sabeva, International Social Service, Mrs. Nelly Petrova, Institute of Social Activities and Practices, Mr. Ivan Dimitrov, association “Samaritans” and foster parents from the country.
“We want to make sure that more children in Bulgaria have a chance to grow up in a supportive family environment. There is no better environment for a child to grow up in than a caring family. It does not have to be a rich family. Because what matters to the child is the sense of belonging and that special bond that children have with one or two persons who are there to love them and guide them through childhood. This makes children emotionally stable and builds their trust in themselves and in other people. And only than they can become good at school, good at work and respected by their communities” said Mrs. Tanya Radocaj, UNICEF Representative in Bulgaria.
Minister Mladenov congratulated UNICEF and expressed his gratitude for the campaign. He presented the objectives of the Government set in the National Strategy for deinstitutionalization in Bulgaria which includes the promotion and development of foster care. It is estimated that currently more than 7500 children live in 137 institutions in the country. These figures reflect the scale of the problem and determine the importance foster care in Bulgaria.
The major aim of the communication campaign is to raise public awareness on foster care, provoke and attract new candidates for foster parents in the country. The successful development of foster care is an alternative to institutionalization of children and is a key element of the reform of the child care system.Top of ForBottom of Form
The communication campaign "Every child wants a family forms part of the broader UNICEF project for development of foster care regional in Bulgaria. UNICEF in partnership with NGOs International Social Service, Institute for Social Activities and Practices and Samaritans Association works on the design and piloting of a regional model of foster care.
"Our goal is not simply to increase the number of foster families, but also to provide a quality service. At the end of this project we expect a sharp reduction in the number of children placed in institutions" stressed Sabina Sabeva, International Social Service.
The main tasks of the partner organizations include the common training program for candidates for foster parents and trainers. Nine regional centers of foster care have been already set up in Sofia-city, Sofia region, Gabrovo, Pernik Stara Zagora, Targovishte, Smolyan Shumen Tarnovo. The regional foster care teams are promoting foster care, training and supporting candidates for foster families. A national information helpline has been designed (0700 12 170), where everyone can obtain more information on foster care be refer to appropriate social service.
UNICEF supports the process of deinstitutionalisation in Bulgaria in the best interest of the child and the right of every child to live in family environment. The main focus of our work is put on prevention of abandonment of children, support to families at risk and development of alternative services such as foster care.
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