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Ongoing Projects

IFCO hosts and participates in a number of projects with Foster Care partners around the world. Select from one of the continents on the map below to find out what projects are ongoing or have taken place in those areas. For more information or if you’re interested in furthering a Foster Care projects with IFCO, call us today on +44 (0) 20 8144 7571 or email ifco@ifco.info.

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Developing Short Break Foster Care Service for Children with Disabilities

Republic of Moldova

36 children with disabilities and their families from two regions in Moldova have benefited from the short break foster care during project implementation. 

Developing Short Break Foster Care Service for Children with Disabilities in the Republic of Moldova Project (May 2011 to November 2012) has been implemented by Partnerships for Every Child (P4EC), with financial support of the European Commission(EIDHR Instrument) and additional P4EC resources. 

The goal of the project was to increase the ability of the social protection system of Moldova to address the rights of children with disabilities to quality family based social care, by developing a model of Short Break Foster Care for children with disabilities in 2 regions of the country, and by piloting and integrating this model into the local child welfare system and national policies.

The concept of the short-break foster care was developed in collaboration with IFCO experts, the local authorities’ teams and on the basis of the survey into models of short-break foster care and the assessment of children with disabilities and their families in the regions as well on the basses of international survey on existing short break foster care developed by IFCO. The development process included many meetings between the project staff and the local authorities, which culminated in a workshop with the participation of the IFCO experts and consultation with 24 children with disabilities (in 3 focus groups), potential beneficiaries of the new model, who validated the model.

The short-break foster care placement was designed to be delivered to any children with disabilities looked after in their families from a couple of hours per day till 30 days per year, in exceptional cases when parents need intensive medical treatment/interventions 45 days per year may be granted. The concept was built based on the following principles: the biological family of the child is the key actor in planning the placement and the family should be empowered to play this role; the matching of the child’s needs and foster carer’s competences should be done more carefully with active participation of the child and their parents, paying particular attention to the assessment of the needs of the child, daily programme and nutrition; the training programme for short-break foster carers is followed by an initial training in foster care and focuses on meeting the needs of the child with disabilities placed in short-break foster care; short-break foster carers should be preferably recruited from the social network of the child and the family and from the same community.

In November 2012, the IFCO experts assessed the results of the piloting of the developed model. According to the team of experts the model developed in Moldova corresponds to the local needs of children with disabilities and their families, takes into account local possibilities and brought about innovations that are useful to share with Western countries. The elements that was regarded as very useful is the encouragement of collaborative/friendship relationships between the parents of the child with disabilities and the short-break foster care, in order to maximize the support offered to the family and the child and ensure continuity of care of the child in biological and short-break foster  care families.

On the basis of the developed concept the project managed to develop, pilot and integrate a short break foster care model for children with disabilities in the service delivery in the two target regions of Moldova, as well as to include this new model in the national policy development process, reaching a political commitment for this short-break foster care to be replicated nationally. The project also opened the issue of children with disabilities and disability rights more fully in the national level policy debate.