Foster parenting

The family is the best place for any child

UNICEF/Knežević Barišić

The Challenge

Growing up in the warmth of a family is exceptionally important for the growth and development of any child. Despite the care of professional staff in children's homes, no institution can replace a family. Only by growing up in a caring family home can children have the opportunity to learn about everyday family activities and to feel that they belong and are supported. Individualised care and affection help children to learn positive family patterns.

“No institution can replace what children need most – a family setting and affection.”

On the other hand, children growing up in children’s homes have to live with the consequences all their life. Despite significant progress in the development of foster parenthood and the transformation of children’s institutions, there is still an unacceptable number of children in Croatia who spend their childhood in institutionalised care. The ratio of 80 percent of children in foster families against 20 percent in institutions has still not been achieved, although it has been part of various deinstitutionalisation plans for years.

UNICEF/Knežević Barišić

The Solution

In order to support efforts to enable every girl and every boy to grow up in the warmth of a family, UNICEF has been investing in the development of quality foster parenthood for years. Through the training of experts in the social welfare system, we help to repair deficiencies and meet challenges in the provision of quality foster care. In order to make sure that children entrusted to foster families receive the best possible care, we work to strengthen foster associations and foster parents by providing continued support, follow-up, and training for foster parents.

In two national campaigns of “Every Child Needs a Family”, we helped to raise public awareness of the importance of growing up within a family and to encourage numerous families to choose foster parenthood and to open their hearts and the doors of their homes to children without adequate parental care.