UNICEF campaign “Every child needs a family” to mobilize new foster families

18 May 2023
Foster care
UNICEF/2023

Skopje, 17 May 2023: The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched today the foster care campaign “Every child needs a family” to reach and mobilize foster parents who have a sincere desire and motivation to provide care to a child in need, including children with disabilities, babies, children victims of violence or neglect, and children who need care because they are exposed to risks.

“We are aware that there is nothing that can replace the love and support of a family. This is the reason why we are so committed to developing a network of foster caregivers and give them the full institutional support to be able to provide the child in need the best possible care,” said Jovana Trencevska, Minister of Labour and Social Policy.

“North Macedonia has made tremendous efforts to ensure that no child lives in a large-scale residential institution.  Unfortunately, there will always be cases when it’s not possible, not safe, or not in the best interest of the child to live with their biological family,” said Patrizia DiGiovanni, UNICEF Representative. “In such cases, first the biological family should be supported. But if the support cannot immediately improve the family situation, there are alternative forms of care, and foster care is the next best alternative form of a family environment.”

Foster care
UNICEF/2023

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.

The campaign “Every Child Needs a Family” will support the efforts of the Foster Care Resource Centers in Skopje and Bitola and the Centers of Social Work countrywide to increase the interest for fostering and to identify foster carers in every municipality. This way, the foster care system will be able to facilitate maintaining a connection with the child’s family, community, and cultural background.

The campaign consists of documentary testimonials of families who decided to become foster carers driven by the genuine desire to extend love and provide a nurturing environment to a child; social media content and web advertisements and posters, all promoting the website https://zgrizuvanje.gov.mk/ where potential foster families can find more information about foster care and how to apply.

Foster care
UNICEF/2023

Together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy UNICEF has also supported the Foster Care Resource Centers in Bitola and Skopje, to assist and guide foster families so that they can provide exactly the kind of care that the child in their foster care needs.

UNICEF has also worked with partners to keep families together, through strengthening of family focused community support and enhancement of parenting education to create a gatekeeping mechanism which will ensure that policies, procedures and services are in place to prevent child separation from the family and community.

The promotion and strengthening of the foster care system in North Macedonia is 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 recognise that children grow and develop best in a nurturing and loving environment, supported by caring and responsive adults.

Celebrating 30 years in North Macedonia this year, UNICEF has been supporting the de-institutionalisation process which is one of the milestones of UNICEF efforts in ensuring every child in the country grows up in a family like environment.

 

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