Last year, foster family care in Latvia was provided to more children than were put in orphanages, according to data compiled for 2017 by the State Child Rights Protection Inspectorate.
Also for the first time the number of children under the age of three put in orphanages is less than 10% of all children put in child care institutions.
«This is a very positive development. It proves that the work performed by the inspectorate and institutions working in the industry are starting to yield positive results. Orphan courts actively assist orphans by providing them with a family-like environment to grow up in. Effort is also put in development of foster movement in different regions. Society and media have also become more supportive of children who end up in crisis situations,» says chief of State Child Rights Protection Inspectorate Marianna Dreja.
In 2017, foster care was provided to 6,669 children in Latvia. 18% or 1,173 children were put in foster families (17% or 1,193 children in 2016), 67% or 4,459 children were provided with guardians (65% or 4,548 children in 2016), 15% or 1,037 children were put in foster care institutions (18% or 1,216 children in 2016).
The inspectorate emphasizes that the institution actively and systematically monitored work performed by orphan courts, urging for more active participation in providing children with family-like environment, and providing methodical suggestions. The inspectorate also provided different support and education services for guardians and foster families.
The inspectorate reports that 95 potential foster parents were trained in 2017. Foster family support programmes helped train 183 foster parents provided with foster family status. «One of the main priorities for 2018 is further evaluation of the work performed by orphan courts in the context of de-institutionalization,» says Dreja.