- Published: 06.04.2021.
Aladrović: Law will be changed to facilitate foster care
The Minister of Family and Social Policy, Josip Aladrović, on Tuesday announced amendments to the Foster Care Act to facilitate foster care for children.
The minister made the announcement after meeting with representatives of the "We Have Something to Tell You" initiative Marta Divjak and Antonija Skender. Divjak and Skender were also received by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
Aladrović said that the two representatives presented a good initiative to address several key issues to relax adoption and foster care procedures.
Aladrović said that the duration of adoption or foster care cases showed how difficult it was to adopt or foster a child in Croatia. He said that he would initiate amendments to the 2019 Foster Care Act to promote deinstitutionalisation and make it easier for children staying in care homes to be taken into foster care.
As for the adoption of children by same-sex couples, Aladrović said that this issue would be put to public consultation. "The child's interest comes first and that's how it will be with the social care system."
Aladrović said that the meeting also focused on possible legislative and procedural changes concerning the social care system, as well as future cooperation on legislative amendments and ideas.
Divjak said that she herself had been adopted and her colleague Skender had been raised in a foster family. They had launched this initiative to raise public awareness of problems faced by fostered and adopted children.
Divjak said that they raised nine issues and that Prime Minister Plenković said that Minister Aladrović would take a position on them within the next three weeks. Among the issues raised, she cited the need to speed up the adoption procedure, establish a family court to deal with the interests of children, and promote foster care.
"We are leaving this meeting with a lot of expectations and hope that this will be the first government that will manage to fully reform the social care system," Skender said.
Speaking of the case of a two-and-a-half-year-old girl from Nova Gradiška who had died from severe head and bodily injuries inflicted by her mother, Skender said that they could not speculate what had gone wrong because they did not have the information on the criteria the biological family had to fulfil.
"It is certainly not encouraging to take a child from a foster family in which it feels good and send it back to the medium-risk biological family," she added.
Aladrović condemned the graffiti on the wall of the Social Welfare Centre in Nova Gradiška calling social workers "murderers". He said that such calls for a lynching were inappropriate and would not help improve the system.
"The system needs reforming, but reforms will not happen by lynching and violence. Reforms will not be successful unless all social stakeholders are satisfied," the minister said.
The adoption support organisation Adopta issued a statement on Tuesday emphasising the need for a comprehensive reform of the social care system that would include regular annual reports on its work, civil oversight and amending the 2015 Family Act.
"Croatia needs a comprehensive reform of the system so that any child without adequate family care can get maximum government support in seeking a family," Adopta said.