Social Policy Minister Set to Strengthen Foster Care, Supported Housing

By 22 May 2022
Social Policy Minister Set to Strengthen Foster Care, Supported Housing
Image: Pixabay

ZAGREB, 22 May 2022 -  Marin Piletić who became the Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Minister in late April, has said in an interview for Hina that the priority of the social policy of this Croatian cabinet would be supporting children without adequate parental care.

Piletić said in the interview which Hina published on Sunday that the focus would be on scaling down the institutional accommodation for children and enhance fostering. To this aim, his ministry will launch a nation-wide campaign promoting foster parenting for the aim of child well-being.

The minister presented some statistical data showing progress in adoption and foster care.

Last year, 145 children were adopted, which has been the highest number in a year to date. So far in 2022, 58 children have been adopted.

The registry of prospective adoptive children has recently included 220 children that have met all the criteria for their adoption.

The minister also promised the streamlining of the procedures for foster care and for adoption, and underscored that the overhauling of the social welfare system is aimed at making this system more efficient.

The ministry is going to set up a working group tasked with analysing the state of affairs in  institutionalised homes and in providers of accommodation for beneficiaries of social welfare.

Concrete solutions will soon be defined, said Piletić underscoring the advantages of supported housing. 

Supported housing is typically defined as a housing service where housing, support and/or care services are provided to help people to live as independently as possible.

"Croatia and Europe have opted for the process of deinstitutionalisation, and this completely changes the principles of doing business in social welfare services", said Piletić.

"The process will take some time and the policy of deinstitutionalisation and strengthening social mentoring and other services in social welfare are some of the priorities of this government, and sizeable funds are envisaged for this purpose under the 2027 European Social Fund", he explained.

"We in cooperation with services providers and institutions are defining the best locations for the specialised supported housing and we can expect the employment of necessary staff in the coming period as well as the increase of the capacities in this form of housing", he added.

The minister recalled that the amended law on foster care had additionally strengthened the status of foster carers.

There are 2,500 foster carers, with a half of them caring for children and a half who are caregivers for adults, being eligible to higher allowances under the amended legislation.

"They are also entitled to grants to cushion off the energy price hikes", the minister added.

For more, check out our politics section.