Not many Bulgarians want to become foster parents, there are no children in 500 adoptive families
Less and less Bulgarians want to become foster parents, data from the National Foster Care Association shows. The reasons for the decreased interest are mainly related to the lack of social security of foster parents and the increased public attitudes against foster care. A national survey, carried out in 2019 by the Trend Research Center commissioned by the NRA, shows that every sixth Bulgarian would become a foster parent if they received a salary and support from the state for the foster child, and two-thirds of compatriots would not become foster parents under any conditions. Five years ago, on the same question, twice as many Bulgarians declared that they would become foster parents. In the capital, where nearly a third of our compatriots live, only 5% would become foster parents.
One of the reasons Bulgarians do not want to become foster parents is in the absence of social security. Currently, foster parents take care of children at risk under civil contracts that deprive them of the right to full insurance. They have no insurance for the risks of accidents at work, unemployment, pregnancy and childbirth and childcare. Thus, they are left without benefits upon termination of their contracts or when they need to carry out treatment, as a result of which children are removed from their home. Therefore, there are many cases with died of cancer foster parents who once taking the children out, leave them without income, sick leave and die in "humility". Despite numerous insistences of the NRA, this problem should be solved by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and in 2019 they refused to find a solution. Paradoxically, if a foster parent works as an educator in a social home, he will be entitled to an employment contract and social protection.
A second cause for the low motivation of Bulgarians to become foster parents is rooted in the poor attitude towards foster care in recent years. Foster parents have been the target of attacks for receiving wages for their work, with political and religious communities creating opposition between native and foster families. The main attack is that the salary of foster parents is not given to poor families. A little-known fact, however, is that 80% of children placed in foster care are not victims of poverty, but of violence, neglect and poor care. Therefore, the reason children go into foster care is violence, not poverty.
According to data of the Social Assistance Agency for the period January – November 2019, only 95 foster parents received permission from the state to care for children in distress. 203 are the foster parents removed from the registers. 80% of the deleted foster parents are written off for personal reasons – poor health, leaving the country or changing residence, as well as changing professional interests. At the same time, there are no children accommodated in 507 foster families as of November 2019. The highest number of foster parents without children are in Varna (45), Targovishte (39), Veliko Tarnovo (37), Montana (33), Ruse (29), etc.
According to data of the Social Assistance Agency, 1930 Bulgarians grow up in foster care as of the end of November 2019. 90% of children in foster care come from their families, from the families of relatives and relatives with whom they have been housed or from the same or other foster families. The most children who were in foster care were adopted – half in Bulgaria, half abroad. Bulgarians with disabilities are mainly adopted abroad. In November 2019, out of the 94 children taken out of foster care, 15 were returned to their families or placed with acquaintances and relatives. According to the Social Assistance Agency, babies stay an average of 1 year in a foster family before being returned to their families or adopted, children up to 6 years old stay for an average of 2 years, and children between the ages of 6 and 14 – approximately 5 years.