What is it?
Is one of the methods to help and protect children and adolescents who have a family situation that necessitates their living outside of their birth families. Fostering provides an alternative for these children.
It is a temporary measure that provides children with the best environment possible to grow while their birth families resolve the problems that prevent them from caring for the child.
Types of fostering and duration
Depending on the needs of the children and the situation of the biological family, there are six types of fostering:
- Emergency fostering and diagnosis: This fostering lets the child live with a family while a study is performed on the circumstances that have advised separation from the birth family. This fostering is for children up to six years old. The fostering will last the time required to perform the study of the situation of the child and the family of origin.
- Short-term fostering: The child is taken in by a family with the aim of returning him or her to his family setting within two years.
- Long-term fostering: The child is taken in by a family while his or her family setting of origin overcomes the problems that may require a longer period of recovery time. Fostering is for longer than two years.
- Weekend and holiday fostering: This fostering is for children nine and older, who live in state homes and need a family environment. The child lives with the family on weekends and school holidays. This fostering lengthens the period of time that is considered beneficial to the child.
- Fostering in cohabitation units for educational action: This is for children and adolescents with special education needs, chronic illnesses and/or behavioural problems and groups of siblings who require more specialised care. These fostering situations must be able to provide a family setting in which family members have specific degrees, education and experience to meet the special needs of these children and adolescents.
- Permanent fostering: Whether or not the separation from the birth family will be permanent must be agreed upon, or whether pre-adoption fostering would be more favourable to the interests of the child or adolescent, when the former is not possible.
What should I do to be family friendly?
In these links you will find the steps to formalize the process for requesting
Situation of the children available for fostering
Children who need a foster family have experienced difficult situations that have led to separation from their families of origin and face a situation of permanent removal from this family.
The personal circumstances of these children are very diverse: they may be young or older (from newborns to eighteen years old), from different cultures, with siblings or not, and may have special educational needs.
Who can foster children?
From a legal viewpoint, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Have full exercise of their civil rights
- Be older than 25 years of age and be at least 14 years older than the fostered person.
Fostering is only accepted for more than one person in the case of married couples or partners who have lived together 25 years.
People and families may foster a child who want to help raise children who cannot be with their families of origin for a time.
Applicants must be well-balanced emotionally, have free time, have a flexible attitude on bringing up children and a socialising family environment for the fostered child, and also be willing to work with the technical professionals who will be involved in the fostering. To foster, all family members, including sons and daughters, if there are any, must agree.
Where can I apply?
The person or family interested in fostering must go into the Catalan Institute for Fostering and Adoption (ICAA), which has regional offices in the cities of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona and Amposta, or make an appointment with the Family Integration Collaborating Institution (ICIF).
Process for evaluating applications
After presenting the fostering application, candidates follow an evaluation process, which involves at least two personal interviews and a home interview. They must also attend specific training sessions for foster families.
This study and evaluation will lead to a psychosocial report on the family unit, which also includes an overview of the characteristics of the child or children available for fostering for each family or person and the most suitable type of fostering.
The ICIFs accredited by the Government of Catalonia are in charge of this evaluation process.
Aspects that are taken into account to assess families and people who want to foster a child:
- Absence of physical or mental illnesses that would make caring for the minor impossible
- Ability to adapt to new situations
- Emotional stability
- Possibility to dedicate time
- Sufficient means for earning a living
- Housing in suitable conditions
- Ability to raise a child and direct family setting that can support bringing up a child
- Suitable motivation for the objective of fostering
- Wish to foster shared by the entire nuclear family
- Acceptance, if applicable, of the child’s relationship with his or her biological family and of facilitating a return to this family, as well as acceptance of the history, identity and culture of the minor.
- Wish to work with and accept technical supervision and evaluation during the process.
When the time comes, the ICAA proposes a specific child for a specific family. This proposal is also made in the interest of the child, depending on his or her needs. After acceptance, a progressive relationship ensues with the child and the family, who has the support of the technical personnel at all times to help both the family and the child throughout the time of fostering.
Depending on the child’s characteristics and the type of fostering, financial aid is foreseen for foster families or people.