The Minister of Social Affairs refused social security to foster families
The Minister of Labour and Social Policy Biser Petkov refused to commit to the introduction of a special contract under the new Law on Social Services, which would guarantee to a greater extent the social security of foster parents. The latter became clear from his response to the open letter of the National Foster Care Association, in which the foster parents requested the implementation of such a contract, which would give them the right to be insured for all insurance risks.
In the reply sent to NFCA, the Minister claims that foster care is not a social service but a protection measure, which is why it is regulated in the Child Protection Act and there is no way the contracts with foster parents can be included in the Social Services Act. However, instead of committing to the special contract being introduced in the Child Protection Act, it explains in detail why foster parents should not be allowed to be insured for all risks under the Social Security Code. According to the Minister, they are not providers of social services, they are not employees of providers, but individuals who take care of a child under a contract and there is no obstacle in the meantime to work something else to insure themselves.
Biser Petkov also claims that the examples given by NFCA for contracts under special laws, which fully guarantee the social rights of their employees, are not relevant to their request for the introduction of a special contract for foster parents, as the right to insurance for all risks of these employees are regulated in the Social Security Code. He also draws attention to the fact that the contracts arising under the special Law on Physical Education and Sports, which NFCA gives as another example of solving the problem of social security of foster families, do not give the insurance right for athletes and coaches.
Given the above, we expect from the NFCA an explanation from the Minister how, on the one hand, foster care is not a social service, and on the other hand, foster families are obliged to enter into contracts with social service providers. We also draw his attention to the fact that professional foster families are required to provide additional training, as they take on the most severe cases of children at risk, which makes caring for these children incompatible with other types of work. It is no coincidence that they are professional.
The fact that employees with concluded contracts under special laws are included in the circle of people insured for all risks under the Social Assistance Code does not refute, but on the contrary, confirms that the introduction of a contract for foster parents under a special law is the solution to ensure their social security. It is enough to make the relevant changes in the Social Security Code. This is exactly what is envisaged for athletes and coaches, with the proposal of the Ministry of Finance to equate their contracts with employment contracts.
In conclusion, it is irrelevant for the foster parents at which law the special contract will be regulated, which will guarantee their social security, as long as they receive such a guarantee.