Short term foster families – from pilot project to legal change


Project partner:
Partnership for Every Child

Kiev, Ukraine

Susanne Drakborg
[email protected]

In Ukraine there is a tradition of placing children who cannot live with their families in institutions. But an increasing understanding of that institutions are harmful to children has led to a gradual development of alternatives. This has resulted in increased support to families so that the children can remain with their parents, or when this is not possible, be placed in different types of foster families.

Children deprived of safety and care

Children in Ukraine who urgently needed to be cared for, due to violence, neglect, or illness, could previously not be placed in a short-term foster family.   Instead, they ended up in orphanages or hospitals, where they had to wait for the authorities to make a formal decision on whether they should return home or remain in care. But children who are placed in orphanages often stay there for a large part of their childhood. The orphanages also deprive the children of safety and care during a time in life when they need it the most.

Short term foster families for children in need of temporary care

Childhood supports the work of Partnership For Every Child, our Ukrainian partner for many years. Their idea was to develop a model with short term foster families for children who needed temporary care. With a few exceptions, follow-ups have shown that all children concerned have been allowed to grow up in a family environment– they returned to their family of origin or got a new home in a permanent adoptive or foster family.

New law

When the Ukrainian authorities saw that the model worked and fulfilled an important need, they financed and spread the model throughout the country. In 2016, a new law was passed that claims short term foster care placements for children who are taken into emergency care. Children whose parents suddenly die or are urgently hospitalized are now being cared for in families instead of institutions.

Photo: Susanne Drakborg

.acf-map { width: 100%; height: 400px; /*border: #ccc solid 1px;*/ /*margin: 20px 0;*/ } // Fixes potential theme css conflict. .acf-map img { max-width: inherit !important; } (function( $ ) { /** * initMap * * Renders a Google Map onto the selected jQuery element * * @date 22/10/19 * @since 5.8.6 * * @param jQuery $el The jQuery element. * @return object The map instance. */ function initMap( $el ) { // Find marker elements within map. var $markers = $el.find('.marker'); // Create gerenic map. var mapArgs = { zoom : $'zoom') || 16, mapTypeId : google.maps.MapTypeId.ROADMAP }; var map = new google.maps.Map( $el[0], mapArgs ); // Add markers. map.markers = []; $markers.each(function(){ initMarker( $(this), map ); }); // Center map based on markers. centerMap( map ); // Return map instance. return map; } /** * initMarker * * Creates a marker for the given jQuery element and map. * * @date 22/10/19 * @since 5.8.6 * * @param jQuery $el The jQuery element. * @param object The map instance. * @return object The marker instance. */ function initMarker( $marker, map ) { // Get position from marker. var lat = $'lat'); var lng = $'lng'); var latLng = { lat: parseFloat( lat ), lng: parseFloat( lng ) }; // Create marker instance. var marker = new google.maps.Marker({ position : latLng, map: map }); // Append to reference for later use. map.markers.push( marker ); // If marker contains HTML, add it to an infoWindow. if( $marker.html() ){ // Create info window. var infowindow = new google.maps.InfoWindow({ content: $marker.html() }); // Show info window when marker is clicked. google.maps.event.addListener(marker, 'click', function() { map, marker ); }); } } /** * centerMap * * Centers the map showing all markers in view. * * @date 22/10/19 * @since 5.8.6 * * @param object The map instance. * @return void */ function centerMap( map ) { // Create map boundaries from all map markers. var bounds = new google.maps.LatLngBounds(); map.markers.forEach(function( marker ){ bounds.extend({ lat:, lng: marker.position.lng() }); }); // Case: Single marker. if( map.markers.length == 1 ){ map.setCenter( bounds.getCenter() ); // Case: Multiple markers. } else{ map.fitBounds( bounds ); } } // Render maps on page load. $(document).ready(function(){ $('.acf-map').each(function(){ var map = initMap( $(this) ); }); }); })(jQuery);