MINSK, 12 November (BelTA) – Belarus has made much progress in the development of the foster care system, Belarus’ Deputy Education Minister Viktor Yakzhik told reporters answering a question of a BelTA journalist.
There were 68 orphanages in Belarus in 2008, however only 13 of them will remain by 2015. About 25% of orphans returned to their biological families after the reinstatement of their parents’ rights. The other boys and girls were taken by foster families. “Belarus started developing the foster care system virtually from scratch. The experience of the United Nations Children’s Fund was of great help for us. In cooperation with UNICEF, international organizations and NGOs we have greatly advanced in identifying dysfunctional families at an early stage,” Viktor Yakzhik said.
UNICEF Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS Marie-Pierre Poirier noted that Belarus’ practices in placing orphans into foster families and returning them to their biological families are worth studying. “Now this issue is relevant for the entire region. Countries are trying to reduce the number of orphanages and find homes for orphaned children,” she said.