The best interest of the child in foster care is discussed by the National Yearly Meeting of Foster Parents
The National yearly foster care meeting, organized by NFCA, discussed the best child’s interest in foster care. It involved 80 foster parents, social workers and foster care experts. The format of the meeting was organized around the discussions and sharing of experience, and the whole process was guided by specialists on the discussed topics.
On the first day, Associate Prof. Velina Todorova, who is the Bulgarian representative in the UN Committee on the Rights of the child in Geneva, moderated a discussion on the rights of children placed in foster families. Foster parents and social workers discussed the best interests of the child, which, in fact, does not have a precise definition by law. The rights of the foster parents during hospitalization, the issuance of foreign passports, as well as the rights regarding the contact between the foster parents and the adoptive parents and the native families were also discussed. AssociateProf. Todorova gave specific guidelines to social workers regarding the work with educational and health institutions. Foster parents had the opportunity to raise questions from their practice.
During the second day, Dr. Sabina Sabeva from the International Social Service presented to the foster parents her point of view on what “professional foster care” meant, as well as the skills, competencies and knowledge of the foster parents in order to adequately deal with caring for the child and achieving the best for the kids. Sabina Sabeva presented the handbook for professionals "Support for foster families and foster children."
Elka Nalbantova, the founder of NFCA and an expert in social work, presented to the foster parents her understanding of the best child’sinterests in the process of reintegration and return to the family of the biological parents. She held a working session in which she divided the participants into groups and introduced them to the theoretical and practical formulations in social work in the contact between foster parents and biological parents. Afterwards, Georgi Bogdanov from the National Network for Children presented the main elements of the campaign against children's rights in Bulgaria. Vera Kolesheva, NFCA’s supervisor, discussed with the foster parents the dialogue and interaction between all foster care professionals. The main challenges in the communication between social workers and foster parents were discussed. Basic statements in ethics and law were presented, as well as practical tools for improving teamwork.
The National annual foster care meeting ended with an assessment of the achievements and the planning of the next steps. The team of the Foster Care Association undertook to visit key regions in the country and to discuss on-site the difficulties in implementing foster care.