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Foster care in France « Joints Efforts towards the Realisation of

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1 Foster care in France « Joints Efforts towards the Realisation of
Children Rights in Croatia » Vincent Ramon, Project Officer, ANFP French National Association for Family Placement Zagreb, October

2 Foster Care :a complex issue
Illustration GRAPE 1995

3 Legislation in Child Protection :
: Giving rights to the service users to be informed, involved and represented in the run of any care service. Law introducing quality management, assessment and guidelines on good practice. Qualified care thus requires qualifications of monitoring and mangement. : Professionnalisation of family placement: The caregiver becomes « family assistant » :New directions in Child Protection System.

4 Legislation on Types of carers
Law n° June 27, Enforcement decrees Professional Foster Care : “Family Assistant” Consolidated texts in the Social action and families code (CASF – ) art. L and following et D and following– D an following concerning State Diploma for foster care Volunteer foster care :no law, signature of an ethic chart (ordinance 11/09/2005) Person of Trust : Civil Act art.375 and following Foster care for adults with disabilities or the elderly (Ministère des solidarités et cohésion sociale)

5 Organisation of family placement in Child Protection:child at risk or in danger
Assessment Team Justice System Child in danger / abused Administrative Placement Child at risk Parents disagree Judiciary Placement Orientation by ASE Judiciairy investigation Private licenced Foster care and children’s home Public chidren’shome Foster care Under Judge responsability

6 Administrative or Judiciairy placement ?

7 More Statistics : children in child protection (data 2011)

8 More statistics : foster parents
56000 Family Assistants in France (65 million inhabitants)

9 Professionalisation of Care : the dominant figure of the Family Assistant
Creation of a Professional status for Family Assistants in 2005: family assistant is defined as a new profession in Social Work same status, nationwide initial and on-going training during 3 years (60h initial preparation training prior to placement, then 240h on-going, compulsory ) Creation of a “Family Assistant” State Diploma (DEAF)

10 Who can become a carer ? Inclusion criteria:
Married or not, Single , Male or Female age over 25 enough space for the foster child(ren) in the home no Illnesses that would contradict fostering (such as…) Sufficient social equipment in the area(school, clinic etc..) good enough knowledge of French language capacity to offer a safe, healthy, nurturing environment “Rather Good”parenting skills Exclusion criteria:/foster carer and adults in household judicial record n°2- banishment to work with children judicial record n°3 - Criminal offense

11 Licensing and Recruitment
Public Private Need to be licensed Need to be licensed Individual assessment Individual + couple by Psycho& Soc W assessment by Psycho& Soc W Meeting foster family at home Meeting foster family at home Signing of a job contract Signing of a job contract

12 Training of Family Assistant : initial and « initial on-going »
Recruiting, training, support, monitoring, promoting are the employer’s responsibility. Training is at the employer’s cost. Compulsory Initial training 60h prior to the first placement : information and preparation Compulsory initial On-going training 240h over a maximum of 3 years, including: integration of the child in care, educative care, professional communication, diploma examination (optionnal)

13 Foster care monitoring : the employer’s duty
public system: Child protection team (ASE) : Key social worker for the child (workload : 20 to 30 children/ Soc W) ASE psychologist : workload 100 to 250 children / psychol. emergency support 24/7 by peers private services : more staff, and more pluridisciplinary mostly performed by the key social worker for the child (workload : up to 20 children or up to 5 teenagers per social worker) psychologist : workload up to 30 children or 10 teenagers / psychol. emergency support 24/7 by the Service Manager(mostly)

14 Foster carers’ support system
organized and delivered by local agencies, public or private They are locally tailored-to-the-needs, as are recruitment and training Support tools include : -peer support, -mentoring, -on-going training -involvement in teamwork…

15 The profession of Family Assistant
same rights as in the general Working Code, except that there is no limitation in the number of working hours working contract and monthly wage : 1st child 120x legal minimal wage/hour/child (950€ after tax) 2nd child x minimal wage /h/child (1200€ after tax) 3rd child ( )(1400€ after tax) Private sector : seniority impacts favorably the monthly wage Allowances for each child in care (on top of the wage) : Upbringing (30x14€) + Clothing ,Pocket money, Education Extra allowance for children with « complex situation » or special needs (130€)

16 Family Assistant’s rights
No taxes on wages Holidays : 30 days per year (and a 13th month paid if the child remains in the family during the holiday) Sick leave pension contribution and pension rights unemployment rights union rights, right to appeal if licensed is withdrawn

17 Family Assistant duties : as members of the agency staff, they
Participate in Care Planning Meet the child’s key social worker at least once a month(+ phone any time) Are encouraged to keep a daily record of care Are encouraged to write down observations and report Participate in case conferences with the agency’s staff Have an obligation to disclose (in the framework of « disclosure with shared secrecy ») if the child reveals abuse or neglect (as any other social worker under French Law)

18 Different types of care… but not of carers. In child protection :
Emergency care Family foster care for teenage mothers « Modulated » care (weekdays or weekends) Short-term Assessment placement for the infants and toddlers  0-5 Placement for Infants and toddlers (0-5) Placement for adolescents Specialised placement : complex child and parental situations (mental illness/drug addiction)

19 Several use for Foster Care
child protection: most of children under the « Protection system » (in care), financed by General Council(local taxes in each region, decentralised) disability : Less children, out-of-home, « specialised » care, financed by social security funds(social security -State) Mental illness :very few children, out-of-home mental healthcare, financed by social security funds (State)

20 Promotion of Foster Care
there are not national promotional or informational campaigns (the professionalization of fostering might play a part, here) Some regions have a website to inform about Fostering Each service deals independently with the promotion and information about fostering and the recruitment of its carers

21 The Voice of the Child is heard :
In Court : Children aged 7 (and sometimes less) Meeting with the Minor’s Judge at the child’s request With their key worker (or the agency’s Psychologist) Compulsory if change in the care plan and situation of the child Duty of the fostering agency : information on the child’s rights (Law ) Useful Tool for the child : The Lifebook

22 Biological parents : indirect users and partners with rights
To be informed about the child, and the services provided. To sign down the “Individual Care Document” (DIPC) To be informed on the Individual Personalised Project To keep their parental responsibility (in most cases) To be partners : consulted, associated and involved in the design and the review of their child’s care plan. To keep the right to decide in every aspect related to parental responsibility (school education, healthcare, religion).

23 Weaknesses of Family placement in France : professional status of carers
To what extent can fostering be considered a « profession  »? It’s not « just a job »! The need for permanency and continuity of care is not compatible with the General Working Code (maximum number of working hours, etc.) The emotional and affective impact makes fostering a very special work, indeed. Such specificity needs to be protected.

24 Strengths of Family Placement in France
The training of Family Assistants Integration in multidisciplinary teamwork(in progress) The recognition of fostering as being a « work » : requiring tasks, tools, knowledge, skills, competences, rights and duties, a salary, and being part of the multidisciplinary team

25 Strengths of Family Placement in France
The fostering agency carries and guarantees the child’s project (third party role) Such« third party » role balances and regulates between: the child, the foster family, the biological family. The fostering agency’s commitment into quality of monitoring and support to the foster carer is the counterpart of the personal and human commitment they require from the foster families.

26 Recommendations and wishes for the future
Generalise public agencies’ « specific units for family placement » Differentiate short, middle and long term placement Clarify the project for the child Develop Permanency and long term care planning Delegate more often parental authority Facilitate the open adoption Improve the initial assessment and its methodology

27 Recommendations and wishes for the future
Develop the ongoing training on « clinical aspects of family placement » Train and train with the minor’s judges and the social workers in such clinical matters Develop Co-parenting instead of « substitution model » Strengthen support and monitoring Create real partnerships between Fostering ,Residential care and Adoption services in Child Protection

28 Thank you for your attention!
This presentation is the fruit of a cooperative work between ANPF the French National Association for Family Placement and APFEL Acting for the Promotion of Foster care at the European Level Please feel free to join us and network at Power Point made by Vincent Ramon & Frédérique Lucet

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