Host care is a form of assistance provided to children living in institutional care, but it is not a substitute family care institution.
The director of the institutional facility may, after the prior written consent of the municipal authority with extended powers, who acts as the guardian, authorize the child to stay temporarily (usually on weekends or holidays) outside the institutional facility with an individual other than parents and relatives. With this form of care, the eventual permanent placement of the child in the “host” family is not usually planned. The period of stay is limited to 30 calendar days during the first stay with these persons. The competent authority shall examine the family and social environment in which the child will reside and shall take into account the individual child protection plan, if there is one, before drawing up the consent. As a rule, it will require an expert assessment of persons applying for providing the “host care” from the regional authority. If the child was placed in an institutional facility at the request of his or her parents or legal guardians, this form of assistance cannot be authorized without their written consent.
This form of assistance is particularly suitable for older children who have long been living in institutional care. People interested in providing the “host care” might often have distorted ideas about what children should be provided with and what this assistance should consist of. If this aid is to be of benefit to the child, it must be provided professionally, on the long-term scale and with great sensitivity. People who wish to provide host care should work closely with professionals and be well prepared to provide such assistance.
Host care is also used in the case of establishing contact between a child and those interested in the substitute family care, who have been verified and selected by the relevant regional authority.
For more information on host care, read the brochure (available in Czech) Děti patří domů, o.s. – Hostitelská péče a příprava k ní – odborná metodika.