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Foster Care

Regulated by Civil Code ("Občanský zákoník") No. 89/2012, § 958–970, and Act on Social-Legal Protection of Children ("Zákon o sociálně-právní ochraně dětí") No. 359/1999, § 27a) and § 47.

What is Foster Care?

Foster care is a state-supported form of family care intended to ensure the material security of the child and to provide adequate remuneration to foster parents concerning the complexity of the care provided. A child may be entrusted to the foster care of an individual or the joint foster care of spouses. The legislation establishes the best interests of the child as the determining consideration for foster care. Foster care takes precedence in law over the care of a child in an institution.

If the child is capable of expressing his or her own opinion freely given his or her age and intellectual maturity, his or her opinion must be taken into account before the child is placed in foster care.

The foster parent has the right to represent the child and to manage his/her affairs only in routine matters. To carry out special matters (e.g. the processing of a travel document), he/she must seek the consent of the child‘s legal guardian or the court. If the fostercarer believes that the decision of the legal guardian is not in the child‘s best interests, he or she may seek a decision from the court. Foster care may be changed to guardianship in cases where the child‘s parents have died, been deprived of parental responsibility, had their parental responsibility limited or suspended, or had their capacity to exercise parental responsibility limited. Foster care is established by a court decision and only a court can also decide to terminate foster care. It can only do so for compelling reasons, but it must always revoke foster care if the foster parent so requests. Foster care ceases when the child reaches the age of majority. If the child is placed in foster care, the foster parent is obliged to promote the child‘s association with his or her biological family and persons close to the child.

Children placed in foster care typically know their biological parents. In some cases, contact is frequent, in others it is scarce. Children in foster care have their original family and this should be respected. The legislation directly obliges the foster parent to maintain and nurture the child‘s relationship with his or her parents, other relatives, and persons close to the child. Foster parents are also obliged to allow contact between parents and the child unless the court orders otherwise.

There is a distinction between mediated foster care and non-mediated foster care. Mediated foster care means caring for a child „selected“ by the county and the foster parent is served with a notice of suitability to become the foster parent of the selected child. In non-mediated foster care, this act of „selecting“ the child through the county office is absent. In the case of non-mediated fostercare, the child is often cared for by grandparents, other relatives, or persons close to the child.

Foster parents are entitled to foster care benefits, which should ensure the child's basic material security and at the same time take into account the demands of this care by providing the foster parent's remuneration. You can find the exact amount of benefits on the website of the Labor Office. Foster care support is also provided by a system of professional services for foster families. Foster carers are usually obliged to conclude an Agreement on the provision of foster care with an accompanying organization or office, which regulates the details regarding the performance of the rights and obligations of the carers.

What is Temporary Foster Care?

A specifictype of mediated fostercare is temporary fostercare, which is intended to fulfill the institute of crisis or temporary placement of a child outside his/ her own family. The court may, on the proposal of the social and legal protection of children authority, entrust a child to temporary foster care to persons included in the register kept by the regional authority for:

  • the period during which the parent cannot raise the child for serious reasons (for health reasons, serving a prison sentence, etc.);
  • the period after which the parent‘s consent to the adoption may be given;
  • the time until a final decision of the court that there is no need for parental consent to adoption.

This last case is the situation when the parent shows a lack of interest. A parent‘s lack of interest in the child is deemed to be undisputable if the parent has not expressed genuine interest for over 3 months. However, if the behavior of the parent cannot be regarded as a gross violation of the parent‘s obligations, the parent must be informed by the child welfare authority on the possible consequences of his or her behavior and at least three months must have elapsed since such instruction before the court decision. The court decides whether the parent is not interested in the child upon the application of the social welfare authority as the child‘s guardian or the application of the parent.Fostercare for a transitional period may last no longer than 1 year. In exceptional cases, especially if it is clear that the steps already underway are leading to the child being placed in long-term care, the child may be placed in temporary foster care again.

Temporary foster care can last no longer than one year. In exceptional cases, especially if it is clear that the steps already underway are aimed at placing the child in long-term care, the child can be placed in foster care for a temporary period again. The court can order the child to be placed in foster care for a temporary period by means of a preliminary measure.

Only a person listed in the regional authority‘s register of persons suitable for temporary foster care can become a temporary foster parent. The process of professional assessment before inclusion in the register is similar to that for applicants for adoption and „traditional“ foster care. The preparation is carried out in the scope of 72 hours (in the scope of at least 48 hours in the case of ordinary foster care) and is expanded to include topics specific to this type of care (crisis care, cooperation with the child‘s biological family, transfer of the child to further care, transitional fostering and the foster parents‘ biological children, etc.). Persons who, based on a professional assessment, have the prerequisites for the provision of such care for a child, particularly in terms of the short-term nature of such care and topics related to the preparation of the child for the transition to the stable care of other parents, are included in the register of persons suitable for the temporary foster care. Temporary foster care, where foster parents take in a child shortly after birth, is relatively widespread. They are also assessed on their ability to care for infants and toddlers and their ability to cooperate with the parents of these children.

As well as long-term foster parents, temporary foster parents are also entitled to foster care benefits (see the website of the Labor Office). Foster care support is also provided by a system of professional services for foster families. Foster carers are usually obliged to conclude an Agreement on the provision of foster care with an accompanying organization or office, which regulates the details regarding the performance of the rights and obligations of the carers.

Who can become a foster parent?

Any adult person who:

  • can provide continuous care of a child and ensure their proper upbringing and all-round health, psychological and social development,
  • resides in the Czech Republic,
  • agrees to cooperate with the system of professional services which also includes continuing education.

A child can be placed in joint foster care to both foster parents only if they are married.

With the consent of the other spouse, a child can be entrusted to the foster care of only one of the spouses.

A child can also be placed in foster care by an individual (a person who lives alone without a partner, one of the unmarried partners or one of same-sex partners).

Foster Care Mediation

Regulated by Act on Social-Legal Protection of Children ("Zákon o sociálně-právní ochraně dětí") No. 359/1999

Remuneration and other benefits for foster families

A recurring maintenance allowance is an important financial security for a dependent young adult who is still studying and still living in foster care. At the end of foster care, an adult who is no longer studying is entitled to a one-time maintenance allowance.

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