Every child needs a family
UNICEF calls for Montenegro’s Government to establish the Centre for Foster Care
PODGORICA, 26 NOVEMBER 2021 – Only one hundred adults out of almost half a million adult citizens of Montenegro need to be recruited and trained to become foster parents in order for Montenegro to ensure that every child grows up in a family. This is also the most cost-effective solution for reform of the child protection system, as institutional care is, on average, three times as expensive as foster care, according to research conducted in EU countries. For these reasons, UNICEF is calling for Montenegro’s Government to establish the Centre for Foster Care, which would be in charge of training, monitoring and promotion of foster care in the country. UNICEF is also calling for the further development of the family outreach workers’ service through which social workers visit families in crisis regularly to help their stabilization and prevent their children being separated from them.
I have heard today that in Bijela there are 90 children without parental care and some of them are children with disabilities. They should all be in a family. For this to happen, Montenegro needs to establish a Centre for Foster Care, which will be in charge of training for all foster parents, as well as of promoting and monitoring the quality of fostering services in Montenegro.
Santander emphasized that particular support needs to be provided for families who will foster children with disabilities. UNICEF is also calling for financial support for fostering to be increased so that people who want to be foster parents can afford a decent standard of living.
Professionals at the Children’s Home in Bijela support UNICEF's appeal for the urgent establishment of the Centre for Foster Care in Montenegro.
Establishing the Centre for Foster Care is of the utmost importance for our institution in the coming period. This centre will lead to a decrease in the number of children being placed in our institution, which is the objective of all of us.
In order to prevent children being separated from their parents and to reduce the number of children needing to be fostered or adopted, it is essential to provide support for families in crisis through the family outreach workers.
“For this reason, we are calling for an increase in the number of social workers who visit families in crisis regularly to support them to overcome difficulties and to avoid children being separated from their family,” said Santander.
The Ministry of Finance and Social Welfare also recognizes the value of this service – called family outreach workers – and the need to develop it further.
It is essential that we standardize and further develop the family outreach service in the coming period. It is also important that we develop more not just kinship, but also non-kinship fostering and urgent and specialized fostering.
In December last year, in a nationally representative survey conducted by Ipsos, 77 percent of Montenegrin citizens said that it is best for a child without parental care to be placed in a foster family and not in an institution. Three quarters of citizens said that every child, regardless of their personal characteristics, can be fostered or adopted. This data indicates that the majority of Montenegro’s citizens are supportive of greater government investments into services such as the Centre for Foster Care and family outreach workers, that would allow every child in Montenegro to grow up in a family.