Foster care – according to failed reform

The Inspectorate’s conclusions also indicate that most orphanages were not adapting to the new legal requirements: numerical limits were exceeded and the age limits for admitted pupils were not met, there were no educators, disabled children were placed in unprepared socialization centers, which turn had a negative impact on the level of care provided. There were some reprehensible behaviors by employees towards children.

Restrictions have been in place since 2015

NIK would like to remind you that the Family Support and Foster Care Act has limited the possibility of admitting children under 7 years old to institutions since 2015 and from 2020 – under 10 years old. The deadline for adapting orphanages to the requirement that the maximum number of 14 children stay in the facility was December 31, 2020. Therefore, local government units running orphanages had eight years to transform them to meet the required standards† Most hesitated and left the transformation until the last moment.

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Correct execution of legal duties by orphanages is determined by reliable psychophysical diagnoses and emergency plans. Such activities should take place in an atmosphere of tolerance, trust and understanding, with respect for the right of children to equal treatment and protection from unlawful interference in their lives and from degrading treatment and punishment.

NIK also notes that in connection with the COVID-19 epidemic, orphanages faced numerous difficulties in carrying out statutory duties, including providing 24-hour care and meeting necessary needs, education, including distance learning, using the health and therapeutic services available to them. In addition to the daily care and parenting tasks, the educators looked after the children day and night, often at the same time as organizing online lessons, doing homework, shopping, reducing conflicts, organizing quarantines.

There is care and educational matters are neglected

The inspection shows that children in every institution 24-hour care was provided and basic needs were met, but the implementation of care and education tasks did not meet the legal principles.

The regulations indicate that it is necessary to offer children individual help in dealing with their own and other people’s emotions. Meanwhile in no less than 8 controlled socialization institutions costs were not covered by specialized activities suited to the needs neither in the orphanages themselves, nor outside them. In one specialized and therapeutic institution, the legal and regulatory tasks were largely not performed deprive cost of comprehensive help appropriate to the needs diagnosed

The NIK auditors found that children were made available in only 3 of the institutions examined help from psychologists, educators and therapistsand the costs of 10 orphanages were referred to outside entities for therapies – in which, however they were not guaranteed ongoing help to the same extent as for specialists working in the institutions.

In 9 orphanages there were no mandatory sheets of psychological examinations and observations, and in 8 – forms for participation in classes with a psychologist. Thereby children were not adequately diagnosed with regard to psychological needs† In 7 orphanages there were no sheets of research and pedagogical observations, and in 6 – cards for participation in classes with a teacher (due to the fact that such specialists did not work in institutions, long absences from work or performing other activities, mainly replacing educators in the performance of their duties).

The reform has not changed the forms of care

NIK recalls that the foster care reform was intended to encourage the development of family care and a reduction in the number of institutions. It happened differently because many counties have chosen to formally divide their homes into smaller houses as a way of meeting standards without changing existing working practices. In accordance with the Family Support and Foster Care Act, from 1 January 2021. the number of children staying in the care and educational institution may not exceed 14† This requirement was only met in 6 sites. at rest the number of children placed was up to 16 . higher than allowed

Twelve points of sale They were divided into smaller ones, placing the newly created buildings in the same buildings that the existing ones were in† This led to a situation where up to five outlets with shared rooms were operating in one location. Only three orphanages were each located in separate buildings, ie in accordance with the law.

most audited institutions the legal minimum age for the charge was not respectedBabies of a month or even a week old were placed in itwhich resulted in the need to provide them with more care and, consequently, reduced the level of care and educational activities performed in relation to the other activities. Only three orphanages admitted only children older than 10 years. In 15 institutions, younger children were admitted with their older siblings (legal condition), and in three – without this condition being met

Only in 8 inspected establishments did the employees meet all legal requirements, both with regard to education and the possibility to work with children. People who worked in 3 institutions as director, educator, therapist and childcare provider did not have the required training.

Few reintegration activities

Nothing but in some healthcare and educational institutions, reintegration programs were carried out with active and conscious participation of biological parentsby providing them with support and pedagogical, therapeutic and psychological guidance. Parents were rarely motivated take action to change their life situation. In the other institutions they limited themselves only to maintaining contact between children and their biological families. Parents were occasionally mobilized to participate in important events in their children’s lives.

Applications to the Minister of Family and Social Policy for:

  • promoting good practices in the implementation of effective reintegration measures.
    Acting in support of the family and foster care system is based on undertaking activities aimed at the return of children to biological families, without indicating the options available. The audit findings show that: reintegration activities were either not carried out at all or were limited in form and scope† Spreading good practices will increase the effectiveness of reintegration;
  • to take activities to support the growth of the number of specialist and therapeutic care and education institutions, in the context of the in art. 187 of the law on family support and the foster care system

To the founding care and educational institutions for:

  • adhere to the limit of children referred to health and educational institutions specified in art. 95 seconds. 3 of the law on family support and the foster care system
  • compliance with the provisions of art. 95 seconds. 1 and 2 of the law on family support and the foster care system regulating the age of children placed in orphanages
  • taking actions in the context of the tasks stated in art. 181 of the law on family support and the foster care systemaim for increasing the number of specialist and therapeutic care and educational institutions

To the directors of healthcare and educational institutions for:

  • respecting the limit of children’s stay in care and educational institutions specified in art. 95 seconds. 3 of the law on family support and the foster care system and in the licenses of the voivode for the operation of the facilities and getting voivode’s permits to accept another child over the limitin accordance with art. 95 seconds. 3a above laws;
  • compliance with the provisions of art. 95 seconds. 1 and 2 of the law on family support and the foster care system regulating the age of children placed in orphanages
  • employ people who meet all requirements in healthcare and educational institutions contained in art. 97 and 98 of the law on family support and the foster care system and art. 21 paragraph 1 of the law of 13 May 2016. on countering the threat of sexual crime;
  • reliable preparation of psychophysical diagnoses and support plans for newly admitted studentsin accordance with the rules regarding: the dates of their preparation, the inclusion of mandatory elements, amendment of plans and persons authorized to develop them;
  • provide children with lasting and comprehensive benefits tailored to their individual needs and appropriate to the situation of psychological, pedagogical and therapeutic careespecially in the event that no specialists in these fields are employed in the facility;
  • guaranteeing the right of children to be protected from degrading treatment and punishment, pursuant to art. 4 point 9 of the law on family support and the foster care system
  • organize the work of institutions in a way that guarantees the care and safety of children, both during the day and at night, according to their needs and the type of lessons given, in accordance with § 10 sec. 1, 2 and 3 and § 11 sec. 1 and 2 of the Regulation about institutional foster caretaking into account the absenteeism of employees and the performance of other tasks by them;

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