Fourth Response: Foster care
In foster care, the natural parents, or the state, remain the legal guardians but the child lives temporarily with another family or foster carer. This option can be used to provide the time needed to create the environment where the child can return to his or her family. It can also provide time to find the right permanent solution with a new family.
It is known that family care is best for young children, particularly babies and toddlers whose development can be impaired when they are cared for by a number of different people, as is inevitably the case in a babies' or children's home. Foster care is family based care for children whose own family is unable or unwilling to look after them. It provides a safe, secure and nurturing family environment, and can be either short-term for a period of days or weeks or long-term for a period of months or years.
Foster care can lead to adoption after three years for those children who do not have any contact with their birth family. For others, it may allow children to keep in contact with their own families if the plan is for them to return to their family.
Foster carers work alongside a team of professionals providing children with the highest standard of care. Caring for another person's child requires love and flexibility but it offers the opportunity to make a huge difference to the lives of the children who need it.
Foster care standards and requirements
The foster care process in Uganda is still in its development stage. A number of organisations are providing informal foster care services and there are workshops and research projects in progress to recommend and help formulate a formal foster care standard.