The delegation from Kazakhstan hosted by the Deputy Major of Pardubice municipality, Czech Republic.
Photo courtesy: Commissioner for Children’s Rights of Kazakhstan and Pardubice municipality, 

Professional foster parenting is a solution to take care of a child for some shorter or longer time on a professional and most often paid basis, if it cannot be done within their biological family for some reason. With the possibility to provide a family environment for a child, this type of care is also a recognized alternative to placing a child into an institution, or it may be a tool for deinstitutionalization when those institutions exist. While deinstitutionalization is a priority of child protection policies in Kazakhstan, a big project on the introduction of professional foster care is being implemented in this country by a consortium of organizations – public and non-governmental – under the leadership of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights.

This reform has already received support from EU public experts as a part of technical cooperation between the Commissioner and SOCIEUX+, which resulted in drafting the guidelines over different stages of work with and training for foster families. The study visit allowed the partners from Kazakhstan to see how these recommendations are implemented in practice in an EU country.

The delegation from Kazakhstan, led by the Commissioner for Children’s Rights Aruzhan Sain, included officials from national and regional levels, as well as practitioners from civil society organizations. During one week in the Czech Republic, they met and discussed with their peers from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, including a meeting with the Deputy Minister), as well as staff from the municipality of Pardubice and the Government Commissioner for human rights, in addition to practice-oriented visits and exchanges with service providers, institutions, and acting foster parents

The expert mobilized by SOCIEUX+ for this activity was Klara Trubacova, graduated social worker, from Dobrá Rodina, the main host of this study visit and the leading organization in the field of education, training and supporting foster and adoptive parents in the Czech Republic since 2012. The delegation was guided through all processes related to the introduction of professional foster care in the Czech Republic and major reforms since the last decade of 20th century, as well as the current policies, procedures, achievements, and challenges of the Czech system.

Trubacova congratulated the delegation members for their “willingness, motivation, and genuine curiosity which made it possible to raise and answer a lot of important questions and to provide an honest insight from a country with similar experience having been on the transformation path and striving to change the system of care for vulnerable children in a way that no child has to be placed in residential care.”

According to the participants feedback, this study visit was a fruitful dialogue platform offering the possibility not only to learn peer-to-peer, but also to put their own system into perspective, beyond the established patterns and stereotypes. The common vision they shaped for the future now includes the importance of prevention policies, good preparation and support for foster parents and professional social workers trained to help families. They concluded that these findings taken home will nourish the ongoing deinstitutionalization reform in Kazakhstan.

Daria Mamontova
SOCIEUX+ Action Manager

(SOCIEUX+ cooperation 2021-24)

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