Rights and Obligations in the Exercise of Foster Care
The amendment to the Act on Social and Legal Protection of Children, effective from 1 January 2013, amended the rights and obligations of caregivers and registered persons.
By caregiver we mean an individual responsible for raising a child:
- who is a foster parent;
- who has been acting as the custodian or guardian until the child has reached the legal age, during the period when the dependent child was entitled to the child’s allowance;
- a person in the foster parents’ registry who has been authorized to temporarily care for the child before the court decides to place the child in foster care, and during such foster care;
- who is the guardian of the child but only if he/she personally takes care of the child;
- who personally takes care of a child for whom he/she has no child support – alimony obligation, for as long as the legal proceedings for the appointment of that person as a guardian are ongoing.
By the person in the register, we mean the registered person, an individual who is listed in the register of persons who can perform temporary foster care services.
The caregiver and the person in the register have:
(a) The right to permanent or temporary assistance in ensuring the personal care of the appointed child.
(b) The right to assistance when providing full day care for the custodial child (or children) appropriate to the age of the child, the assistance amounting to at least 14 calendar days per the calendar year if the child is at least 2 years old.
c) Right to receive psychological, therapeutic or other professional assistance at least once every 6 months.
(d) The right to be provided with a free opportunity to increase knowledge and skills.
(e) The right to assistance when fulfilling the obligations of maintaining and supporting the child’s contact with his/her own family, including assistance in securing the meeting place for the authorized persons with the child and assistance in such meeting.
(f) Obligation to increase knowledge and skills in the field of child upbringing and childcare to the extent of 24 hours for 12 consecutive calendar months.
(g) Foster parents sign a foster care agreement and are obliged to allow monitoring their compliance with the foster care agreement.
(h) Under the individual child protection plan, foster parents are obliged to maintain, develop and deepen the child’s relationship to close relatives, in particular to parents, and to allow parents to contact the foster child unless the court decides otherwise.
Caregivers and registered foster parents also sign an agreement on providing foster care. The agreement should regulate the details of the exercise of foster parents’ rights and obligations. The agreement must be in line with the individual child protection plan and take into account the interests and individual needs of the child as well as the carers and the registered foster parents.
The agreement is drawn up on the basis of a proposal from the authority of a municipality with extended competence, in whose district the caregiver or the registered person resides, usually within 30 days from the date of the decision of the competent authority on custody of the first child, from from inclusion of a registered person in the register of persons who can provide temporary foster care. If the agreement is not signed within the appropriate time limit, the municipal authority shall decide on the scale of rights and obligations of the person concerned.
Upon the approval of the competent municipal authority with extended powers, the agreement may be drawn up and signed by the regional authority, municipal authority, the municipal authority with extended competence, in whose district the caregiver or the registered person does not have a permanent residence, or a person authorised to sign such agreement. Caregivers or registered persons can terminate a foster care agreement without further explanation.