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Moving Forward: Implementing the 'Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children'

Foster Care Network, Paraguay

Focus 2: Placement of children aged 0-3 years in family-based settings

In Paraguay, some 5,000 children are living in institutions, and the actors in the field of child care and protection have been cooperating since 2006 to develop and promote foster care as an alternative care measure to institutionalisation, with the support of the international NGO, RELAF.

A Paraguayan Foster Care Network has been set up, comprising civil society organisations and the State government, represented by the Centre of Adoptions of the National Childhood and Adolescence Secretariat. A key step forward was the publication of a Presidential Decree in 2010 establishing a foster care programme for children and adolescents in need of protection and support.

Another major achievement was the closure of the Hogarcito, a ‘baby-home’ under the auspices of the National Childhood and Adolescence Secretariat. The 22 babies there were placed with foster families, and procedures for reintegrating them with their families of origin or identifying suitable adoptive families were initiated. Other significant signs of progress are the reorganisation of governmental institutions for children and the approval by the State of a National Welfare Policy for children deprived of parental care.

There is a strong commitment on the part of governmental authorities, NGOs and professionals to ensuring babies are cared for in family-based and family-like care settings. Their work revolves around creating awareness among judges responsible for determining the care setting of children deprived of parental care; the promotion of foster care in wider society; and the recruitment, training, support and monitoring of foster families.

In addition, specialists from the government and NGOs are preparing to launch a Foster Care Implementation Handbook.

For further information visit: http://www.corazonesporlainfancia.org.py/doc/relaf.pdf and http://www.enfoque.org.py/acogimiento-familiar/ (in Spanish)

International Social Service, Oak Foundation, SOS Children's Villages International, unicef, ATD Fourth World, Better Care Network, Family for every child, ngo group for the crc, PEPFAR, RELAF, Save the Children, USAID