The Ministry of Family and Social Services and UNICEF Launch Project to Enhance Türkiye's Foster Care System
The Ministry of Family and Social Services and UNICEF Launch Project Ankara, 25 September 2023 – In a momentous step towards further fortifying family-based services within the child protection system, the Empowering Foster Care System in Türkiye Project was launched with the opening ceremony held today in Ankara. The project will be co-implemented by the Ministry of Family and Social Services and UNICEF and supported by the European Union with a budget of 5.1 million Euros. Set to run for 36 months the project is dedicated to enhancing children’s protection and well-being in a warm family environment, through strengthening the foster care system.
The project plans to implement multi-dimensional activities to support children benefiting from foster care services as well as foster carers, biological parents and social welfare workforce.
The project is committed to increasing the efficiency of identification, evaluation and monitoring processes within the child protection system, ensuring that the existing foster care system is enhanced as well as developing a temporary foster care model. Furthermore, it aims at creating new support mechanisms for children and families. Within the scope of the project, it is also expected to create platforms which would facilitate information and experience sharing among foster carers and would allow them to easily obtain information.
Another goal of the project is to support and strengthen the professionals serving in the social welfare workforce and thereby enhancing the knowledge and skills of the professionals working in foster care service units.
The project will also define the roles and responsibilities of professionals from various sectors and enhance overall efficiency of Türkiye’s child protection systems through the inter-organizational collaborations. By creating a strong support network for the foster care system, the project aims at forging collaborations with line Ministries and civil society organizations in the field for the provision of efficient and holistic services to safeguard the well-being of the children.
The Empowering Foster Care System in Türkiye Project represents a significant milestone in Türkiye's commitment to strengthening child protection and promoting child welfare.
In his opening speech Paolo MARCHI, UNICEF Representative a.i. to Türkiye stated: “This project launched today on enhancing Türkiye’s foster care system will build on the important steps taken by Türkiye to support children within a family environment, to prevent family separation and to provide family-based alternative care services when needed as well as on progress made over the last years in this area. The special focus will be on extending the national foster care system as we recognize the positive impact that foster care has on children and their development. This will make a real difference in the lives of many children.
UNICEF is grateful for the strong commitment of the Government of Türkiye and for the financial support from the European Union to this important program which making difference in the lives of children and their new families.”
In his speech Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-LANDRUT, The Head of EU Delegation to Türkiye remarked: “This project will help lay the foundations for a more secure and nurturing environment for children, while helping foster families to be prepared for emergencies and other potential challenges. By strengthening this aspect of the child protection network, we will ensure that vulnerable children receive timely and appropriate support they deserve immediately, without having to settle in an institution.”
In her speech, the Minister of Family and Social Services Mahinur ÖZDEMİR GÖKTAŞ stated: "As the Ministry, we have decided to enhance our Foster Family services, which serves the well-being and happiness of both children and families and benefits our nation and state. In line with this decision, we will implement the 'Strengthening the Foster Family System in Türkiye Project' in collaboration with UNICEF and with financial support from the European Union. I believe our new project will contribute to our social welfare, particularly the health and happiness of children. Our initial focus will be on strengthening our Foster Care services. We will assess our current capabilities and enhance the infrastructure of our work to improve the efficiency of our staff working in the field and supporting foster families. Through the 'Temporary Foster Family System,' our goal is to ensure that children are cared for in the best possible conditions by the foster families until the appropriate service model is determined."
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