KOCHI: Group Foster Care, an initiative proposed by the department of women and child development, will soon be launched in the district with two institutions already applying to be part of the project. Under the project, individuals, families and institutions can foster a maximum of eight children at a time, subject to their affordability. However, it is mandatory for an institution to be registered under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act to launch the initiative.
“The department of women and child development has instructed us to submit a list of institutions, families and individuals who are eligible to avail Group Foster Care. The last date for submitting applications is September 15. So far, we have received applications from two institutions and both are registered under JJ Act,” said M K P Hafzeena, project officer for non-institutional care, district child protection unit (DCPU).
She said the final approval will be given by the department for women and child development after assessing various factors including the institution’s child policy, it’s capability to foster children and meet their requirements and the space available in these places.Under Group Foster Care, only eight children can be fostered at a time as this will provide them with a family-like atmosphere and ensure that they get individual care.
“Every child has the right to grow in a family-like environment. The project is not restricted or limited to institutions alone. Even single parents, who are capable of fostering children financially, can also apply. However, both husband and wife should agree unanimously before making the decision,” said Hafzeena.
DCPU officers will conduct monthly visits to the institution or home where the kids are so as to assess their situation.
The basic concept of group fostering, as per the model guidelines issued in 2015, is a family setting where a group of unrelated children are placed with a set of parents who may or may not have their own children.