Foster family system reaches over 6,800 kids
Turkey’s Family, Labor and Social Services Ministry is promoting “protective family service” throughout the country in order to provide for the care of children in need of protection in a family environment.
In 2002, the number of children with a foster family was just 515, but the number is now over 6,800.
Within the scope of the activities of the ministry, protective family services are being developed in order to improve children’s health in an emotional and social way, with a sense of self-sufficiency and self-confidence.
As a result of promotional meetings, the number of families covered by the service has increased.
The number of foster families has reached 5,555 across Turkey, while the number of children with a family has reached 6,801, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on June 4, based on the ministry’s data.
This year, 971 families applied to the authorities to be considered as foster families and of this number, 516 were accepted. Accordingly, 629 children were placed with a foster family this year.
As the country’s largest city, Istanbul ranked first in the number of foster family applications with 194. It was followed by the western province of Bursa with 72 and the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri with 64 applications.
There is currently no Turkish province that does not have any foster families. The country’s three biggest cities rank the list in terms of number of foster families. In Istanbul, there are currently 540 foster families; in the Aegean province of İzmir, 361 foster families; and in the capital Ankara, 336 foster families.
As far as the number of foster children, there are 594 in Istanbul, 407 in İzmir and 385 in Ankara.
Families can make their applications for foster family service on the e-devlet website, which is a governmental portal, or the ministry’s own website. If a family is accepted to be a foster family, the government makes them monthly payments for the child’s care and education. If the child has a disability, the monthly payment is 50 percent more.
The money paid per child to the family reaches up to 1,426 Turkish Liras (approximately $248) per month.
In September of every year, this monthly payment is tripled to cover the educational expenses of the child. And two months of every year, this money is doubled to cover the clothing expenses of the child.
The child’s health expenses are covered by the state. If the child is to attend a vocational course that is either operated by the state or institutions, the family does not have to pay a fee.
Those who have protective family contracts and do not have basic social security for their retirement may have their premiums paid by the state if they apply for optional insurance under the Social Security Institution on a minimum wage.
Visits by social workers every three months
Foster families are provided courses to improve their communication with the children. Once the child is placed at a foster family, they are visited by social workers every month for the first year and then every three months starting from the second year.
During these visits which take place at the foster family’s house, the relevant social workers evaluate the child’s psychological progress and observe their attendance to school.