Becoming a custodial parent

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Philippe Gloaguen
@philippegloaguen
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How to take a foster child

THEfamily fostering is an institution that allows a family, a couple or an individual to welcome, for a limited period of time, a minor and a country or foreigner whose family is going through a period of difficulty or crisis, such as to prevent care of the child or the boy himself. Family (or temporary) custody was introduced by the Law 184 of 1983 which also governed the current adoption.





Article 2 of this law says that "the minor who is temporarily deprived of a suitable family environment can be entrusted to another family". Therefore, the assumption of custody is an incapacity, an educational difficulty of the parents which must however have the character of transience, of temporariness and precisely this temporariness distinguishes custody from other systems of definitive replacement of the family unit. In fact, custody does not change the minor's family situation: the parents retain parental responsibility, but the exercise of this, as well as the duty to maintain, instruct, educate the minor belongs to the carers.

Temporary custody of singles 

They can apply for temporary custody not only married couples, but also cohabiting (with or without children) and singles. Being single is certainly not an obstacle, even if in practice a couple is preferred in order to replace both figures of reference for the minor. The requirement of being single is viewed with greater sympathy, however, in cases where the natural family is still present and is not too negative.



Read also: Adoption to singles, when is it possible?

Fostering of young children 

The fostered can be very young children, who attend kindergarten, elementary or middle school and be up to seventeen years old. The fostering of infants (0 - 24 months) provides for the fostering, for a short period, of infants or very young children, as an alternative to entering a community. It aims to provide the child with a welcoming family environment during the observation and evaluation of parenting skills, in view of future judicial measures.



Requirements for foster care 

There are no special requirements for custody. The assessment of whether a family is suitable for foster care is left to the heads of the foster care centers set up in all the municipalities or at the ASLs. There are many types of reliance and among these it is necessary to indicate which ones we feel most inclined towards or towards which our human resources are more suitable.

What the law on foster care says 

Foster care cannot last more than 24 months, but it can be extended by the Juvenile Court if its suspension damages the minor (Article 4, paragraph 4, Lg.149 / 01). During the fostering period, various support and support interventions must be activated to overcome the problems that made it necessary to remove the child from his or her nucleus and to facilitate his return to the family of origin.

Experiences of family fostering 

The stories of foster care tell of children, adolescents, families, mothers, fathers ... many people who have grown up with foster care and who have learned that hospitality is a multiplier of emotions and sensations. For those who want to approach foster care, it is good to contact the social centers since knowing concrete experiences can help to better understand what it means to do foster care.

Contribution for foster care 

The foster family does not have an easy task. It is precisely for this reason that it must be supported throughout the process of foster care. The art. 5 of Law 184/1983 and subsequent amendments provides:

The State, the Regions and local Bodies, within the scope of their own competences and the new law and within the limits of the financial resources of their respective budgets, intervene with support and economic aid measures in favor of the foster family

Economic support can therefore consist of:

  • in the acknowledgment of a monthly contribution, independent of income, and of a further possible contribution by way of reimbursement of extraordinary expenses, incurred for treatment interventions and of particular importance for the assignment project. These contributions are paid by the Municipality that arranges the assignment. Their amount is established by specific provisions (for example resolutions);
  • in an insurance coverage for the minor for accidents and damages caused and / or suffered during the fostering.
  • the receipt of family allowances and social security benefits due for the minor, which can be temporarily ordered by the Judge once the circumstances and methods of fostering are assessed, as well as its duration;
  • tax deductions for family duties, also due if the Judge orders it.

Types of credit lines

The assignment can be:

  • consensual: when it is carried out in agreement with the family of origin which recognizes their difficulties and accepts, with the intervention of the Services, to entrust their child to another family, for the necessary time. The provision of custody is prepared by the Municipality or Consortium of Municipalities and is made executive by the Tutelary Judge.
  • judicial: when ordered by the Juvenile Court and implemented by the Social Services of the Municipality or Consortium of Municipalities. The provision of the juvenile judicial authorities is implemented when the consent of the family of origin is lacking and the socio-environmental situation of the family unit is of serious risk for the minor. Furthermore, it should be noted that it is necessary to indicate towards which ones we feel most inclined or towards which our human resources are more suitable.

Basically we must differentiate between:

  • residential and part-time: where a more stable coexistence possible is foreseen (therefore also with overnight stay)
  • of simple help to the family and to the child in which the minor returns home to sleep. Here, too, based on availability, age, family situation, the psychologists in charge of verifying will assess whether what is requested is actually adequate.

Difference between foster care and adoption 

Adoption and foster care they are two juridical measures that aim to assist the minor - in a state of abandonment in the first case and with family difficulties in the second - in physical, social and mental growth. In particular, while the adoption consists in the change of the legal status of the subject, who becomes in effect the legitimate child of the adopting couple, custody is only temporary and does not provide for a change in the legal status of the minor and his birth parents.

What are the duties of a foster parent 

The foster family undertakes:

  • to welcome the child with him;
  • to provide for its maintenance, education and instruction;
  • to take care of and maintain relations with the family of origin;
  • to favor the reintegration of the minor in the family of origin.

Documents required for the assignment 

People interested in having a child in foster care must express their availability to the social services of the local authority or to the district and municipal Fostering Centers. These entities, which work in the area with the aim of facilitating and accompanying each family in the fostering of a child, will illustrate the documentation and forms necessary in order to obtain foster care.

How do you become a foster care 

First you need to contact the foster care centers e give your availability. The more foster care centers that one turns to, the greater the chances of obtaining what is requested. However, the limitation of this procedure is the fact that, at least in the current state, the foster care centers are not connected to each other. So it may happen that you go to a Fostering Center and they don't have children to foster, but other fostering centers may need to place some minors. In fact, custody can also include a very strong removal from the family of origin, such as moving the minor to another region. 

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