Press Release by the Ministry for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights: 44 boys and girls permanently join a family after legislative changes
Reference Number: PR210947
44 boys and girls were granted a family permanently through a Court Order, so that from now on they shall be able to live in a stable family environment. These children were under a care order after it was established that for various reasons they should not continue living with their biological parents.
This is the result of several amendments addressed by the Child Protection Act which was enacted last July. Through these changes in the Child Protection Legislation, Court has the duty to make decisions about the future of children with the aim of giving them the same opportunities as those of every boy and girl.
These details were announced during a press conference organised by the Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS) with the main theme being the fostering area, a sector which is celebrated on an international level throughout the month of May
Minister Michael Falzon emphasised that the Government is committed to continue to make a difference in people’s lives even if these are a minority. The Minister said that now the required fostering time for people to adopt the boy or girl they are fostering has been reduced to five years, although adoption may also take place after 3 years under extraordinary circumstances.
Minister Falzon referred to the amendments to Child Protection Law so that children are not only granted permanence but also the element of stability with the ultimate goal being the children’s best interest. He pointed out how the financial assistance granted to those persons who foster has been increased from €70 to €110 in the last four years.
Mr Alfred Grixti, Chief Executive Officer of FSWS announced a new helpline with the 1778 number which is aimed at persons who are interested in fostering. At present the Foundation is in contact with 270 fostering families, all with a variety of experiences, with the majority being cases involving sensitive and difficult experiences.
The Director for Alternative Care, Remenda Grech and the legal consultant, Dr Andy Ellul expressed the importance of the Child Protection Act and how this was amended to reflect life’s realities. This legislation created two different directorates, one for Looked after Children and another concerning Child Protection Services. It was explained that a matching process is also now taking place to facilitate the fostering process.
Meanwhile during the past five months, 42 couples made contact with FSWS to show their interest in fostering while last year 50 made contact with FSWS for the same purpose.