The preamble states that foster care was introduced in this directive to fulfill the promise of the government. The government had promised to provide support for vulnerable children in their local communities. Foster care is one local support program. It is stated in the directive that its powers are generated by the ratified Child Right Convention and African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Before we get into the details of the Directive, it’s important to understand the definitions of foster family care, the characteristics of a vulnerable child, and the institutions that will implement the directives.
The Directive applies to all Federal Government agencies and charities that are authorized to provide foster and adoption services by the Federal Government. This directive can be used by cities and regions to create their directives taking into account their context.
Foster family care is a way to provide support and care for children who have lost their families or are vulnerable. It is a temporary alternative program. Foster family care may be for a short or long time. Foster parents are responsible for properly raising the foster child and meeting basic needs. The care and support provided to the foster child will cover their psychological and physical well-being. These responsibilities must be fulfilled until the child can be reunited with their biological parents, or transferred to another permanent program.
A “vulnerable child” is a child whose development and survival are threatened by certain circumstances. They are in dire need of other care services. These include Abandoned children; b. Orphans; single or double; c. Children whose parents are unable or unwilling to care for them due to illness, mental impairment, or disability; d. Street children; orphans; e. Children living on the streets; f. Children abandoned by their biological parents; g. Children who cannot get support from their biological families due to economic deprivation; or h. Children are left behind by their biological families.
“Institution” refers to a government agency or charitable organization that has been granted a license by the federal government to provide domestic adoption and foster care services.
Register and be eligible
Registering is the first step. Register at the institution as a foster family. Potential families will need to fill out a registration form. It is the responsibility of the institutions. You must include information about the needs of potential foster families, such as age, gender, and any other conditions.
Eligibility requirements must be met by the registered foster family. Registered foster families must be Ethiopian citizens and reside only in Ethiopia permanently. They must be at least 25 years old. The child cannot be given to anyone other than married people unless there is an alternative. A family that lives in the same area as the foster child will be granted priority. The family must approve by writing their consent to foster the child. The family must have the financial resources to support the child. A foster family must not have been convicted of any offenses involving children. The medical certificate must be valid for the family to allow them to care for the child.
After ensuring that all eligibility requirements have been met, the concerned authority shall conduct a home study to determine if the child is suitable for foster care. To assess the foster family, the concerned organ shall conduct home visits and acknowledge their economic and psycho-social conditions.
Evidence concerning the Foster Family
The foster family must produce an Ethiopian nationality identification card and birth certificate. A medical certificate must be provided to prove that they are free from any transferable or uncured diseases. This will allow them to raise children properly.
Evidence Concerning the Child
After the assessment of the foster family has been completed, the status of the child will be determined. The general information about the child shall include the following: gender, age, and language of the child. It is also necessary to identify the child’s physical, psychological, and health status. If the child is abandoned, the name and address of the person who found it, as well as the date, place, and any other relevant information must be recorded.
The institution or government will provide training for the foster family. This training includes proper upbringing, securing children’s rights, and other related subjects.
Matching, attachment, and bonding
Next comes matching. The INSTITUTION will organize the evidence from both the foster family as well as the child and match the child with the most suitable family.
Next, you will need to create attachment and bonding. Matching and bonding mean introducing the child physically to the foster family, the biological kids of the foster parent with the child, and taking the child to the village to help him adapt to the community.
Foster Care Agreement
After bonding activities are completed, a legally binding agreement between the institution and foster family shall be drawn up. The concerned governmental institution must sign the agreement as a witness if it is between the charity institution or the foster family. The foster family can present its petition for guardianship to the court to protect the child’s economic and social rights after the agreement has been signed.
Follow up and support
The concerned institution will provide ongoing support and follow-up to the child’s welfare and rights after placement.
The possibility of transitioning to another type of foster care is possible. Foster care institutions may reunite biological parents with their children if they can raise the child if the biological parents do not exist.
Termination of an Agreement
The contract will be terminated if the foster family engages in child labor, psychological or physical violence against children, or sexual harassment of any kind, and if the institution confirms such incidents, without prejudice to legal liability.
The MoWCYA provides the first binding details on the foster care implementation process. Directive 48/2020 has provided details on how to register interested foster families, obtain required documents and sign a foster care contract agreement. This is a great step in the right direction. It is equally important to announce the Directive publicly and implement it for the benefit of vulnerable children. For more information check out this – divorce lawyer surrey free consultation.