In the Brno region alone, 550 children are eagerly waiting for a new family. While adoption is a significant and permanent commitment, the role of a foster parent offers a temporary yet invaluable opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life. Not only Czech citizens but also internationals can step into this role and offer this chance.
Are you in a position to consider it?
Czech law recognises three types of care:
Adoption represents a profound commitment to a child’s well-being. It’s a form of foster care applicable to children who are legally free, meaning their biological parents have given their consent for adoption, or the court has determined the parents’ lack of interest in the child, or relieved them of parental responsibility. In some cases, it may involve children whose parents have passed away.
The adoptive parents legally become the child’s parents, with all the rights and responsibilities that come with that role. They’re listed on the child’s birth certificate, and the legal relationship between them and the adopted child is at the same level as the relationship between biological parents and children. This includes taking the adoptive parents’ surname, inheritance rights, and more. The child’s relationship with their biological parents is terminated entirely.
2] Foster care
Foster care is an arrangement where the court entrusts the care of a child to foster parents while the biological parents still maintain their parental rights. Foster care provides the child with a nurturing family environment and the necessary support, but it doesn’t sever the child’s ties to their biological family. The biological parents retain their legal guardianship, and the foster parent’s authority is subject to the consent of the legal guardians on important life decisions, such as travelling abroad, surgery or career choices.
Foster care thus allows the integration of children into a nurturing family, even when they are not legally free for adoption. Children in foster care usually maintain contact with their biological parents, unless the court rules otherwise, and foster parents actively support and cultivate these relationships if it is in the child’s best interest. Moreover, foster care in the Czech Republic is financially supported by the State through foster care benefits.
3] Temporary foster care
Temporary foster care (=not longer than for 1 year) provides children with support during periods when their biological parents are unable to care for them for significant reasons, such as hospitalisation or serving a sentence in prison. Temporary foster care prevents children from having to reside in institutional settings, offering them a more nurturing environment. The child returns to their biological family or transitions to a foster, adoptive or permanent foster family when the reasons for placement in temporary foster care no longer apply. Financial support from the state mirrors that of regular foster care.
In the Czech Republic, foster care prevails over adoption, offering children the care and support of a loving family while maintaining ties with their biological parents when appropriate.
Internationals encouraged to become foster parents
Recently, the Regional Authority of the South Moravian Region has launched a recruitment campaign for foster applicants. It also extends to foreigners living in Brno, encouraging them to consider becoming foster parents. The informative leaflets can be found here, page 1 and page 2.
Whether an individual, partners, or a married couple – as long as they meet the statutory requirements, they can step forward and make a positive difference in the child’s life.
“Till this moment, we have only received applications from foreigners for adoption,” the Region says, “and we have not yet received or assessed any such applications for foster care, but we would welcome them.”
Currently, the South Moravian Region records approximately 550 children waiting for a new family. The largest group comprises children over 15 years of age (148), followed by children aged 12-15 (60) and those aged 5-12 (30). These children, often in institutional care due to behavioural disorders, educational challenges, severe disabilities, or belonging to minority ethnicities, pose unique challenges in finding foster parents. (However, some stay in chidren’s homes by their own volition: children older than 12 years have the right to have a say in the mediation of foster family care and most do not wish to be placed into foster care, and they remain in contact, albeit limited, with their biological family.)
Another significant group includes siblings, 317 children in total, ranging from two-person to eight-person families. The youngest children in these sibling groups typically fall within the 2010-2012 age range, emphasising the importance of keeping siblings together whenever possible.
An international can also submit an application. More specifically, either a foreigner entitled to social benefits, or a foreigner with a permanent residence, or a foreigner residing in the country for an uninterrupted period of at least 365 days (according to Act No. 359/1999 Coll). This implies that the requirement encompasses any valid residence permit, both for EU and non-EU citizens, and is not limited solely to permanent residence status.
In terms of the assessment process, the requirements for foreign applicants are identical to those for Czech citizens. The procedure remains consistent and is detailed in the leaflets available on the JMK official website, ensuring transparency and equal opportunities for all individuals who wish to apply.
Settle yourself, and settle someone else
We know that living in a strange country is a challenge of its own. Introducing a child into the equation, even if temporarily, rather raises the stakes. However, once you’ve settled yourself a bit, you might be in a situation where you could settle someone else?
There won’t be many of you, but we still put the information out there: you are, at least legally, in a position to help.
Written by Alexandra Sisková. Picture courtesy of Canva.com