National Consultation in Slovenia
The FORUM partner Slovenska Filantropija organized in Ljubljana the national consultation, one of the milestones activity of the project.
The consultation was attended by relevant representatives of the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants, by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, several Centres for Social Work, NGOs, foster parents and Association for Foster Parents.
The consultation brought the discussion of Foster care for UAMs on a very high level; many aspects were discussed and although Slovenia does not have a lot of experience with placing unaccompanied children into foster care, there is a high commitment from the different stakeholders; at the time being, the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants is coordinating a multidisciplinary team which is working on the systemic solution for the accommodation of unaccompanied children in Slovenia and one of the focuses is providing foster care for this group of children.
The national consultation came out with important recommendations, here the main ones:
1) Individual assessment and the best interest of the child is crucial;
2) The State should provide various options for accommodating unaccompanied children. A decision should be based on the specific circumstances of each child and on the assessment of his/her best interest (children have various needs, background, experiences, etc.);
3) Quality of the foster care is very important. For unaccompanied children, it is necessary to establish a foster care system with adequately trained professional staff to assess and match the needs of children with the capacities and resources of potential foster parents, establish a set of trained foster parents and provide specialized training, support and counseling services for foster parents;
4) Foster parents need more training and professional /emotional support;
5) Training for professional staff from centres for social work;
6) Focus on financially supporting and training of other actors who are involved and are providing support to these children and foster parents;
7) NGOs with the knowledge and experience should be more included since they can offer additional support to foster parents and professional staff from centres for social work;
8) Good cooperation among all actors is very important to overcome the complexity of the issue.