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Let Me Thrive - Research study on Foster Care in Malta

Data tal-Pubblikazzjoni: Aww 10, 2016

Today 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.

The 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.

Ms 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.

The 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.