New resources for potential foster families
First web page providing all resources on fostering at one place
Skopje, 21 March 2023: Today the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and UNICEF launched the new website www.zgrizuvanje.gov.mk developed to mobilize new foster families who have a sincere desire and motivation to offer temporary care to children in need.
“The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, through legal solutions, strategies, programmes and activities, works to create conditions for every child without parental care to grow and develop in a family-like environment,” said the Minister of Labour and Social Policy Jovana Trenchevska. "The Ministry works with its partners to raise citizens' awareness of the need to provide safe, quality foster care for children where they will be loved, respected, supported and encouraged to grow and develop as successful citizens of our society.”
“Any promotion of the foster families as a very significant form of child care is welcome, so is the new website www.zgrizuvanje.gov.mk, which, I believe, will bring positive experiences and citizens, current or potential foster parents will be able to find useful information about foster care, how to become a foster carer, where to go and everything that interests them," Trenchevska pointed out.
“There is nothing that can replace a family environment in terms of impact on growth, development, and the overall wellbeing of the child,” said Patrizia DiGiovanni, UNICEF Representative. “Every child needs a family. Children without parental care often have experienced traumatic events early in their lives. Therefore, giving them the love, care and attention they require, could be everything to them and positively alter their lives.”
Foster care services are a form of family-based care for children for whom living with their families is not an option at the moment. Foster and kinship care, together with small group homes, have become the main family-like alternatives for children without parental care following the successful deinstitutionalization of children from the large-scale institutions in 2019.
Since then, UNICEF provides continuous support for further strengthening of the child-care system, with focus on foster and kinship care. In this context, the new web resources launched today are one of the tools to strengthen and expand the network of foster families.
The webpage contains general information about foster care, the process of becoming a foster care giver, types of foster care, relevant legislation, news, contacts, information about financial allowance and frequently asked questions. There is also an interactive tool where potential foster care givers can send their questions of interest directly to the foster care support centers through the webpage.
Three foster care support centers are functioning in the country covering specific geographic areas, two of which have been established in the premises of former large institutions for children without parental care.
The first foster care center was established in July 2021 in Skopje in the former institution for children without parental care “11 Oktomvri”. The second is based in Bitola in the former institution for small children without parental care “Home for children and infants” and the third is run by the SOS Children’s village in Skopje.
Currently, there are around 590 children in foster care and around 100 children in small group homes, including children from 0-3, and children with disabilities.
However, despite significant progress, the number of existing foster families is not sufficient and is not distributed equally throughout the country. This is why through promotion of fostering, the child-care system aims to create a network of foster families ready to provide care and protection to the children in every municipality and to facilitate maintaining a connection with the child’s family, community, and cultural background.
The promotion and strengthening of the foster care system in North Macedonia are part of a wider child-care reform, underpinned by the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, which recognizes that children grow and develop best in a nurturing and caring environment, supported by devoted and responsive adults.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.mk.