Together to promote foster care and a new culture of hospitality: a project for the province of Brescia
On the territory of Brescia’s Local Health Authority ASL (not counting Valle Camonica, that is), 250 minors are currently living in foster care, 150 are placed in kinship care, 270 are hosted by communities, and more than 2.500 are being monitored by services for the protection of minors.
Brescia’s Forum Provinciale del Terzo Settore, supported by 13 public and private welfare organizations and associations* and co-financed by Fondazione Cariplo, has now launched a three-year project whose aims are to promote a new culture of solidarity and hospitality at home, to aid the development of support networks and other forms of “lighter” foster care, to tap into the great variety of available family resources, and to seek alternatives to the removal of minors from their birth families.
The project’s main areas of activity
The project falls into 4 main stages
1) Joint strategies and training
The creation of shared contents and operational tools under the supervision of a Scientific Committee and the implementation of ad hoc training programs for operators involved in public and private welfare organizations will encourage networking, promote the circulation of useful ideas, and establish a common operational background allowing all participants to improve together.
2) Raising awareness and promoting a culture of foster care and hospitality
Promotional material, a dedicated website and social media pages (Facebook, Twitter…), an educational campaign based on newsletters, local awareness-raising initiatives, and a cycle of “Days of Foster Care” scheduled throughout the Province are some of the tools that will help us spread information on the different forms of foster care, circulate the contacts of local specialized services, and share our experience with the public.
3) Introducing new tools and strategies to improve the screening of candidate families and guarantee suitable matches
The main outcome will be an online application: a database listing families from the territory of the Province that have made themselves available for foster care and other forms of hospitality in the interest of minors. The rules of access to the database, to which all parts are required to subscribe, stipulate that only public and certified private services will be able to retrieve information. The function of this new tool, UNICA, will be to help operators locate the most appropriate “caregivers” for each individual minor and guarantee a quicker matching of minors and families.
4) Support and follow-up initiatives for families and minors
Beginning from the second year, the project will introduce educational, support, and follow-up activities aimed at families, foster families, and the minors themselves. Additionally, the project will activate programs involving the children’s birth families, promote activities aimed at both minors in foster care and birth children, and guarantee the availability of new resources based on family solidarity, with a view to experimenting with innovative and lighter forms of foster care and hospitality.
* Project Partners
“Promoting and supporting foster care networks in the Province of Brescia” is a project of Brescia’s Forum Provinciale del terzo Settore, assisted by: Associazione Coordinamento Famiglie Affidatarie, Istituto Palazzolo – Suore delle Poverelle, Brescia’s municipal authority, Azienda Consortile Ovest Solidale, Azienda speciale consortile per i servizi alla persona Brescia Est, Comunità montana di Valle Trompia, Palazzolo sull’Oglio’s municipal authority, Chiari’s municipal authority, Azienda territoriale per i servizi alla persona della Bassa bresciana centrale, Fondazione Comunità della Pianura Bresciana, Montichiari’s municipal authority, Fondazione servizi integrati gardesani, Comunità Montana di Valle Sabbia.
The network’s institutional partners
Brescia’s Local Health Authority ASL, Brescia’s provincial authority, Azienda Territoriale per i Servizi alla Persona di Valle Camonica, Ambito 5 Sebino, Associazione Intessere – A network for the protection of minors.
The project has secured the funding of