Director of Social Welfare in the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Dina Gumulira says she is excited with the meeting which is set to finalize regulations on the foster care system in the country which shall, in turn, support the operationalization of 2010 Child Care, Protection and Justice Act.
Gumulira said this at Linde Motel in Mponela during a meeting on finalization of regulations on foster care systems in Malawi, the meeting brought on board various stakeholders from different child development organizations including the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and Malawi Human Rights Commission, and the host Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare.
“It gives me confidence that what we are doing here is a positive step as far as the provision of quality care for children in need of foster care is concerned. We know that the children that we are going to support through this document have gone through a number of traumatic experiences and we need to support them so that they are exposed to better conditions and quality care even if they have been placed in foster care institutions. This is also in line with the reforms agenda, and let me assure you that this is one of the Ministry’s top agenda and we have the full support of the Minister on this. It is my hope that by the end of this year, we shall have the regulations on foster care of children finalized and rolled out” said Gumulira.
In his remarks, Deputy National Director for SOS Children’s Villages Malawi, Hope Msosa said SOS Children’s Villages Malawi is equally excited for the progress made on the finalization of regulations on foster care of children that will regulate the provision of quality care for the children in need of foster care arrangement in the country. He also hinted to the meeting that it is the desire of SOS Children’s Villages Malawi that every child grows up in a family environment and that sending children for foster care must be the very last resort. As such the regulations will be handy in improving both the quality of care to the children in foster care arrangement as well as bringing sanity in the foster care sector in line with the provisions in the principal law the Child Care Protection and Justice Act as well as the guidance given in through these regulations.
The Child Care, Protection and Justice (Foster care) Regulations, 2021 shall provide guidance in the provision on quality foster care for children that have been deemed fit that they need foster care after a thorough assessment by competent social workers. The regulations provide guidance in areas of authorization to operate foster homes, eligibility for placement of children, duration of placement of children in foster homes, application for a license for foster homes, assessment procedures, Issuance of license for foster homes, Conditions of a license, Renewal of licenses, administrative oversight among others.
The meeting was made possible with the support of the Tracking Progress Initiative (TPI) project of SOS Children’s Villages Malawi. This was also in response to the findings from the TPI assessment of the alternative/foster care systems in Malawi. The assessment revealed that lack of regulations for foster care in the country was one of the gaps affecting the implementation of quality alternative care as most foster care providers had no guidance on how to register their institutions nor did they have guidance on the qualifications of their caregivers and a number of key issues in the sector. It is hoped that the finalization of these regulations will address all these gaps and many others in the management of foster care in the country.