The Family for Every Child project in questions and answers
How it works, what the donations are spent on, how to take a child into the family
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The Family for Every Child project in a nutshell
What are the project's goals?
The goals are to help children restore contact with their biological parents or find a new family, develop alternative forms of placement for children (including adoption, guardianship and custody, foster families). Within the framework of the project, we pay special attention to children with disabilities and young children.
In which regions does the project work?
The program was launched in the Gomel oblast four years ago. In 2021 alone, 41 children found a loving family.
Based on the experience of the project in the Gomel oblast, it will be launched in 9 districts of the Vitebsk oblast in 2022 and will affect foster homes: the Vitebsk regional specialized children's home, the Bogushevsky foster home for disabled children with special needs, Vitebsk foster home and Begoml special needs boarding school.
What is UNICEF Belarus doing to help children in institutions?
We are developing a case management system. It means that for every family that has at-risk status, a case manager is assigned. This person works with each family individually and devotes a lot of time to them. Case managers identify the needs of the family and then determine what caused a critical situation: low income, parents not having a job, poor relationship with each other or other difficulties.
Case managers support parents: they tell them where to receive the services necessary for the family, advise on social benefits, help them find a job, and select a professional psychologist. This is how we help children reconnect with their biological families.
When a family for some reason cannot fully provide care for a child with a disability and it ends up in a residential institution, we help the family improve their knowledge and skills in caring for such a child, and also refer the family to the organizations where they can receive the services they need. Thus we are creating the conditions for the return of the child to their biological family. It is very important to develop the availability of services at the place of residence of the family in order to prevent the child from entering a residential institution.
To help children find a new family, we are developing alternative forms of placement for children, such as adoption, guardianship, foster families. For each child from the residential institutions we cooperate with, an individual working plan is created.
We prepare guidelines for foster parents, such as this one, for example. Together with our partners select foster parents, prepare and support them. We train specialists from SPCs (social and pedagogical centers) and other institutions on how to work with substitute parents.
We have a separate work ongoing with families that raise children with disabilities. We assess their needs: before working with them, we need to understand what kind of support they need. And we send them to organizations that can help them.
We are also cooperating with the state on developing strategic solutions in the field of deinstitutionalization, including changes in legislation.
Who are substitute parents?
This is a general term that combines all forms of placement of children in a family – adoption, guardianship, foster family and family based care home. You can read more about each of them here.
What are people's donations spent on?
We use the donations to pay for the work of case managers; to train specialists to work with children and their parents; to hold an information campaign on the importance of the family environment and on alternative forms of placement for children; to attract international and Belarusian experts to develop curricula and other components of social work that are successful in other countries.
Questions about adoption, guardianship and other forms of placement of children in families
Where do I go if I want to adopt a child, become a guardian, a foster parent or a caregiver in a family based care home?
You need to contact the Department of Education at your place of residence.
What documents do I need to prepare?
- medical certificate,
- certificate of employment and position held,
- information on income for the last 12 months,
- marriage certificate (if any).
The Department of Education organizes psychological diagnostics and preparation for the adoption of a child in a family.
In order to decide whether the permission for adoption can be granted, the Department of Education will request the following information:
- certificate that proves that the applicant does not have criminal record;
- whether the applicant has ever been deprived of parental rights;
- whether any adoption has ever been canceled;
- whether the applicant has ever been declared incompetent;
- whether the applicant has ever been relieved of guardian duties, etc.
Read more about all the required documents and data that the Department of Education requests here. If the decision of the Department is positive, then it will refer the parents to the appropriate authority for further steps.
Who can and who cannot be an adoptive parent?
Everything is described in Article 125 of the Code of the Republic of Belarus on Marriage and Family. You can find it here. For example, people with chronic alcoholism, drug addiction, substance abuse or people deprived of parental rights cannot become adoptive parents.
Can a woman or a man who is not officially married adopt a child?
The legislation does not provide for any restrictions on adoption for single citizens. A single woman or man can adopt a child.
If you were denied adoption, find out why. Not being in a registered marriage cannot be the sole reason for denial. Most often there are other reasons for that. In addition, people who are not married to each other cannot adopt the same child.
How important is my financial status?
The Code of the Republic of Belarus on Marriage and Family stipulates that candidates for adoptive parents must provide the child with a minimum living wage (from May 1, 2022, the minimum living wage in Belarus is 311.15 Belarusian rubles). To calculate it roughly you can divide the total income of the family by the number of all its members, including the child you wish to adopt and the children already raised in the family. The rights of other children must not be infringed upon.
Do the applicants need to check their health state?
Applicants must go to the outpatient clinic at the place of residence and undergo a medical examination.
You need to go to the following doctors:
- phthisiatrician (a doctor who detects and treats tuberculosis);
You need to take the following tests:
- blood for the Wasserman reaction;
- general blood count;
- urinary test.
You also need to do an ECG and lung fluorography.
There are lists of diseases that prevent people from becoming adoptive or foster parents. All restrictions are specified in Decree No.108 of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Belarus of December 15, 2017. For example, people with tuberculosis (until they are removed from the dispensary register) or people with mental disorders cannot obtain permission for adoption and other forms of placement of children.
Can I choose the child's age?
When people apply to the National Adoption Center with an application for the selection of a child, they indicate who they want to take into the family. You can specify gender, age, and other features.
To take a child into a family, you need to go through a difficult process of checks and collection of documents. But you need to remember that you are not alone. Should you have any questions, contact the National Adoption Center.
And after the child gets into the family, you can get the support of a psychologist from the social and pedagogical center (SPC) at the place of residence.
To get a free consultation on legal support of the adoption procedure, you can contact a chat bot on Telegram: @kids_lawyer_bot.
Support the Family for Every Child project and leave a donation here, so that more children can find their loving families.