At the invitation of the national organisation, EQ psychologist Yana Deleva attended the Sofia event and shared the extensive experience and successful practice of EQ dedicated to supporting the development of foster care in Ruse district.
There were over 100 participants from throughout Bulgaria and Yana placed particular emphasis on the extensive support EQ provides to foster families caring for children with disabilities or chronic illness. At the beginning of 2013, EQ – working in partnership with Hope and Homes for Children – Bulgaria – took the first successful steps towards removing disabled children from institutions in Ruse and Shiroka Luka and placing them with foster families.
We do not have many foster families in Ruse and most are selected by the Child Protection Department. However, on the basis of comprehensive training and continual support we have succeeded in placing children with special needs.
EQ has partnered the municipal authority in the programme “I have a family too” since 2012. We assessed and trained 28 foster families between 2012 and 2014 and at the end of 2012, we supervised the first placement of a newborn baby direct from the city’s maternity unit/
As of Setemberr 2015, we have 22 professional foster parents acting in Ruse. A total of 62 children have been placed with foster families in the municipality of Ruse – 17 of them were disabled, 37 were adopted and 12 were reintegrated into their biological families or placed with relatives.
EQ takes the view that foster care is a temporary measure designed to allow us to prepare for reintegration of the children into their biological families or for adoption in those instances where reintegration is not a desirable option. We always work in the best interests of the child. The key to quality support of child and foster family is that it is timely and highly personalized. No two cases are alike and the EQ has extensive experience and the ability to observe and analyse every case of its own merits.
EQ has participated in national working groups and this has led to regulatory change ensuring that adoption of a child who has been cared for by a foster family is handled with the requisite sensitivity.
Yana’s presentation elicited a significant level of positive reactions and the curiosity of those foster parents who participated in the Sofia event together with many ngos and other bodies involved in foster care in Bulgaria.