the Hon. Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity, Dr Michael Farrugia,
together with the Commissioner for Children, Ms Pauline Miceli, launched the
research study entitled Let Me Thrive – A
Research Study on Foster Care in Malta. The study was commissioned by the
Office of the Commissioner for Children and was conducted by Dr Daniela DeBono
and Dr Marian Muscat Azzopardi. It is a qualitative study which was carried out
in 2014 and 2015 and is based on in-depth interviews with: children who have experienced
foster care; birth parents, foster carers, professionals working in the field;
and policy makers.
aim of this research study was to obtain in-depth knowledge about two related issues: factors that contribute to meet the holistic needs of the fostered
child and factors that may contribute to foster care placement breakdowns in
Malta. An important aspect of this study is that central attention has been
given to the voice of children and young persons who are experiencing or have
experienced foster care in Malta.
Miceli also puts forward her recommendations through this study which she
briefly described during the launch. These include the need for: permanency
planning, family reintegration; permanent alternative care; adequate budget allocations; the voice of the child
to be heard; and for the best interests of the child to come first and foremost.
Ms Miceli also welcomed the new Child Protection Bill, which has already
started being discussed in Parliament and which addresses most of the
recommendations put forward in this study.
Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity Michael
Farrugia has welcomed Ms Miceli's recommendations and expressed his
satisfaction at the findings of the research. Dr Farrugia noted that the
proposed law, which is currently being fine tuned in Parliament at Committee
stage, addresses the same recommendations in an extensive manner. Dr Farrugia
spoke about the setting up of a new Agency that will cater for the fostering
and adoption of children, and made reference to another White Paper which will
set standards for residences of children in care.
There is considerable need for more human resources in this
field, Dr Farrugia said, in order to afford our children the best possible care
they truly deserve.
study shows that many children in foster care are receiving a good and loving
upbringing however, there is no room for complacency. There is always more that
we as a nation should do for children in out-of-home care.