Families open homes to foster children

Finding foster homes for children in need of care has become easier despite an increased demand for placements

Children from underprivileged homes have a better chance of finding a foster home compared to ten years ago, according to public officials.

'We get between two to three applications every week from people who are interested in becoming foster parents,' Birgit Langager Svendsen, head of the family care department in Northern Jutland County, told daily newspaper Politiken.

Families do not submit the applications on a whim, she said. Most of them have been pre-approved by their municipality of residence, according to Svendsen.

'It's fantastic. We are able to make good placements for each child so that all their needs are being taken into consideration,' said Svendsen.

She said that more than one child placement per week was a rarity. Last week, for example, only one child needed placement.

In the last ten years, the number of children needing foster care has increased across the country each year with the exception of 2003. Nationally, there are 6459 children currently in foster homes.

Svendsen said the increased interest in becoming foster families is a result of a foster care reform, which was instituted in January and improved the situation of children needing foster care.

'There has been more information sent out that we would rather use foster families than 24-hour care centres if we can't solve the problem in the family. That has prompted many people to look at whether they have the means to provide care,' Svendsen told daily newspaper Politiken.

The Foster Care Association in the Jutland municipalities of Vejle and Ribe has also seen a high number of families interested in taking a child into foster care. Just under 100 people are signed up to take a child but not all families have the patience to go through the foster care application process.

'Some people withdraw from the list because the requirement of a preliminary evaluation of their family and basic training for potential families is too much to handle before they have even seen the child,' said Arne Jeppesen, a group leader of the association.

Svendsen said that while there are plenty of families willing to be foster parents, they still need more families with immigrant backgrounds to open their doors.

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