600 minors placed in alternative care

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Until December 2018, approximately 600 minors were in foster care, according to the Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS) CEO Alfred Grixti.

Addressing the National Fostering Conference, Grixti said that 586 minors were fostered. 222 minors were in foster families, while 116 were placed with relatives. 248 minors were in foster homes.

Grixti said that private fostering is not an option, adding that the government should continue providing support to foster families and children. Prospective foster carers require continuous training due to the more complicated traumas experienced by minors who require foster care.

Hailing the success of a scheme launched last year, Grixti said that the number of foster carers increased. An increase of 59 foster carers was registered in 2018, totalling to 133. There was a €30 increase in the allowance given to foster carers.

By the end of the year, the Children Protection (Alternative Care) Act will be enacted, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said. The law will allow foster carers to adopt children under their care if reunification with their biological parents is not possible.

Family Minister Michael Falzon described fostering as a sensitive and emotional subject, adding more power is conferred to professional in the field to decide in the best interest of the child.