Foster care development project for unaccompanied children was presented by the National Foster Care Association and NBU

Foster care development project for unaccompanied children was presented by the National Foster Care Association and NBU

The initiative for foster care development for unaccompanied children is implemented by the Istituto degli Innocenti di Firenze (Italy) in partnership with the Know-How Center for Alternative Childcare (Bulgaria), the National Foster Care Association (Bulgaria), the Nidos Foundation (Nederlands), METAdrasi - Action for Migration and Development (Greece), Villaggio SOS di Vicenza Onlus (Italy), Municipalities Florence (Italy) and Catania (Italy).

PROFUCE is aimed at improving the quality of care for unaccompanied migrant children in the countries of the European Union and addresses current challenges related to the increasing number and special need for their support. The focus is on foster care as an underdeveloped and underused resource for social support. The project was presented in front specialists and key experts from the International Organization for Migration, the Bulgarian Red Cross, the State Agency for Refugees, the State Agency for Child Protection, Migration Directorate at the Ministry of Interior, the LUMOS Foundation, the Center for Legal Aid and others.

The main objective of the project is to enforce a capacity for high quality support of unaccompanied migrant children through foster care at regional and national level in Bulgaria, Greece and Italy, as well as at international level within the EU. To increase the number of foster parents taking care of unaccompanied migrant children and also the number of unaccompanied children placed in foster care in partner countries participating the project as well as increasing the knowledge and skills of social and foster parents to address the specific needs of these children are among the specific project targets.

The chosen methodology is based entirely on NIDOS's experience in implementing the ALFACA Care Model and includes a series of trainings for professionals and foster parents. Alternative Family Care (ALFACA) is a foster care model for unaccompanied migrant children that is developed on the basis of the long-standing experience of the Dutch NGO NIDOS in partnership with Belgian, German, Czech and Danish organizations working with children refugees and migrants. Thus, ALFACA is a set of theoretically-based approaches, good practices and activities that have been well established in several EU countries.

In the project frames will be issued a manual for the implementation of the ALFACA model and translated into Bulgarian. It will contains the basic information on its implementation, as well as the main tools used to assess the foster families; children's needs and impact after placement.

The project will be implemented in different regions of Bulgaria, Greece and Italy. For Bulgaria the regions are the districts Pernik and Sofia, Vidin and Haskovo. Each of them will include at least 30 social workers and 40 foster families. A national and regional campaign to raise foster parents for unaccompanied migrant children will be held within the project.

It is also planned to provide training for the implementation of the ALFACA model in three phases: (1) training for NIDOS trainers, (2) regional trainings for social workers by Bulgarian trainers and (3) regional trainings for foster parents. The ultimate goal is to accommodate unaccompanied migrant children in foster families and to actively support foster parents who take care of them.

"Promoting Foster Care for Unaccompanied Children in Europe - PROFUCE" project is funded by the European Commission - Brussels through the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (CCE-DG JUST).

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