Foster homes and the foster home agreement

A foster home is a private home where children who are unable to live with their parents are looked after for a period. Over 80% of all children in the care of the child welfare service live in foster homes.

The child welfare service is responsible for follow-up of the child and the foster home and for ensuring that the necessary support measures are in place. The foster parents cooperate primarily with the municipal child welfare service, but also often with the child’s family, on safeguarding the child’s needs and planning his or her future.

Requirements regarding foster parents

Foster parents must have a special aptitude as well as the time and energy to give children a secure and good home. They must have stable lives, normal good health and good interpersonal skills. Foster parents are also required to have sound economy, accommodation and a social network that provides the child with the opportunity for living a full life. Foster parents must also have proof of good repute and must be able to provide a satisfactory police certificate of good conduct.

Training

Foster parents are offered training by the Agency for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufetat). PRIDE is a training and recruitment programme offered to people who wish to become foster parents. The programme is designed to help participants to decide whether they are capable of being good foster parents.

Municipal foster homes

Approximately 90% of all foster homes are what is known as municipal foster homes, where the foster parents have an agreement with the municipality responsible for care of the child and receive remuneration for doing so. The foster home agreement regulates the relationship between the foster parents and the child welfare service, and relates to placement of a specific child.

State-supported emergency foster homes and foster homes for children with special needs (familiehjem)

Emergency foster homes are homes with special competence for looking after children and young people in acute situations. Familiehjem [family homes] have special competence for looking after children and young people with special needs. These homes often function as an alternative to placement in institutions, and it is necessary that at least one of the parents is occupied full-time with work in the home and has no other employment. The responsibility for these homes lies with the state, and the homes are required to enter into a five-year continuous contract with the central government child welfare authorities at regional level (Bufetat), which is also responsible for remuneration. By ‘continuous contract’ is meant that the contract also applies when there are no children placed in the home. In addition, a foster home agreement for a state-supported foster home is to be entered into between the foster parents and the municipality in connection with placement of a specific child.