Foster care is a practical resource for families and parents who are going through a hard time and are experiencing difficulty in providing for the educational, material, and emotional needs of their (underage) children.
Foster care is one of many viable options that can be selected in the interest of the children themselves. Family placement is more than just a full-time board and lodging arrangement guaranteed by a foster home temporarily taking on the responsibilities of the child’s birth parents: options are many and diverse, including much “lighter” forms of parenting support. Ad hoc strategies are selected on a case-by-case basis.
Behind every placement there is a plan, a mutual pact whose ultimate goal is the return of the minor to his/her birth family, according to the legal norms that have disciplined the practice of foster care since it was officially instituted in 1983.
The actual duration of the placement, however, is highly variable. It is contingent on each child’s or young person’s individual needs. Ordinarily, the duration of foster care initiatives should be limited to a maximum of two years, but prolongations are also possible depending on how a specific situation evolves.
Usually, a placement comes to an end with a ruling of the same Court of Law which had initiated the procedure. The project’s intended goals may be considered as accomplished either when the minor’s birth family has regained the ability to care for its child or children, when the prolongation of foster care would no longer be in the best interest of the minor or when the foster child has come of age.
Hospitality, too, is a valuable resource, a form of practical solidarity that is open to everybody, and one that we all may contribute to establish in our community and among our acquaintances, or embrace as a lifestyle.
Being “hospitable” means to accompany and support a person in need through a variety of different approaches, ranging from demanding engagements to lighter solutions, according to the amount of time and energy a person wishes to devote to helping others: friends, relatives, neighbors or fellow citizens experiencing difficulty.