The register of family homes is arriving, an end to the wild west of child fostering

A jungle without direction, contours and certain numbers. The fostering of minors outside their families of origin is now preparing to turn the page. It does so under the impetus of a bill wanted by the Minister for Equal Opportunities Eugenia Roccella with Carlo Nordio, holder of Justice. A provision that changes course and puts a brake on the Wild West by shining a light on the fate of children who, with a judge’s order, leave their families and are entrusted to structures or private individuals. On Monday the bill will arrive in the Council of Ministers and once approved it will shine a spotlight on this reality about which little is known and that little is entrusted to partial numbers.

The double mapping

The bill first introduces the double mapping of public and private care institutions, “family-type” communities and foster families of minors: one national, to the Government, and the others in individual courts. Objective: “Ensure the full implementation of the principle of the best interests of the minor and of the right of children and adolescents to live and grow within their families of origin”. As provided for by the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which protects the right to be heard by minors and ensures vigilance on the part of States, so that forced separations of children from their parents always take place “in the paramount interest of the child”. With an amendment to law 184/1983, the first national register was established at the Department for family policies, where the number of minors placed in communities or family units, the name of each institution and the list of those available to welcome children and adolescents. It seems like a detail but it isn’t.

The fog on the data

The latest snapshot of the phenomenon, created by the Istituto degli Innocenti of Florence for the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies, calculated a silent army of 26,223 minors placed outside their families in 2020, net of foreigners under 18 who arrived alone in Italy: 12,815 in family foster care and 13,408 welcomed into residential services. They were partial data and in any case not comparable with the monitoring now set up by the change of pace of Roccella and Nordio. Also under the microscope are the assignments without the final word and above all those which occurred with the use of force on which the two ministries want to shine a spotlight: now it will be necessary to point them out and above all motivate them, tearing them away from the fog of the absence of numbers and strong motivations.

The territory

Regions and local authorities will have to periodically provide the Government with the necessary data and information. The methods for keeping the register will be defined with a decree of the Prime Minister or Minister Roccella, following the opinion of the Unified Conference and having heard the Privacy Guarantor, within six months of the date of entry into force of the text. All because the State, the report always explains, is called upon to exercise “constant supervisory activity, preparing every measure aimed at avoiding the danger that the institutionalization continues for an unreasonable period of time, with serious damage to the minor himself”. The message is clear, in short. We intervene where necessary without abusing a tool created for extreme cases, as a last resort.

Find out more

And the tribunals

At the same time, the spotlight is also being lit at a jurisdictional level, just a few months after the autumn debut of the single court for individuals, minors and families envisaged by the Cartabia reform. At the moment the only duty for family homes and foster care units is to send six-monthly reports to the prosecutor of the juvenile court with only the list of all the minors placed with them, documents which the prosecutor in turn forwards to the court together with a information report. The draft bill now establishes, in the name of the “principle of transparency”, that a specific “register of placed minors” must be established in each juvenile court and in each ordinary court which keeps track of the under 18s in foster care and goes further: the clerks will have to note down the dates and details of the foster care provisions, the relevant law, any intervention by the public force with an indication of the motivation and, finally, the date and details of the measures authorizing the return of the minor to the family. To allow adequate monitoring of phenomena of social hardship in the area, each court, within thirty days of the request or adoption of the provision by the judge, must communicate to the Department for Juvenile Justice of the ministry only the numerical data on requests and provisions of removal of a minor from his parents or cohabiting parent or other relative who takes care of him.

#register #family #homes #arriving #wild #west #child #fostering
2024-03-24 08:39:24

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.