According to the Statistics Poland and the Supreme Audit Office (2021), about 24,000 children in Poland are staying in orphanages, Youth Centres of Sociotherapy and Youth Educational Centres. An alternative to placing children in such institutions during intensive work with their natural families is foster family. But currently in Poland, family foster care is in crisis. Fewer and fewer people are ready to become foster parents. Many existing foster families are dissolving, and children are being handed over to the above-mentioned institutions. In 2020, there were only 911 foster families in Podlaskie Province, 13 fewer than in the previous year. The reason for this situation is, among other things, the lack of reliable preparation for this function. In many cases, random people are recruited to foster families, and their training agenda includes only information on formal issues. The content conveyed often contains negative stereotypes and prejudices. In addition, there is a lack of such ways of support that would integrate natural families, children and foster families.
The aim of our project is to support family foster care in the Podlaskie Province. The direct beneficiaries are 10 families in our province. We provide parenting consultations for them, create a support group, and conduct workshops for foster parents and children. As part of the project, foster families will receive help in solving parenting problems, will better understand the situation of the children and their problems, and will be supported in solving their own emotional problems. Through the exchange of experiences, parents will work together to find solutions to problems. Workshop participants will learn how to better communicate with children with emotional disorders and developmental deficits, how to solve crisis situations and how to cooperate with natural families. Children from foster families will develop their social competence, agency, confidence and self-esteem.