In addition to the first project outcome, the second project result of the Creating Care project is the development of a tool for analysing foster families' needs, perspectives, and experiences. With that in mind, we'd like to share some of the findings from the partners' focus groups with families and children.
In Austria, the interviews were conducted with individual families and children. The qualitative survey methods and the questions envisaged in the project were adapted to practice.
What kind of obstacles do you face after becoming a foster family?
Most of the families with whom interviews were held stated that they had had problems with the families of origin. There were many difficult situations that the foster families were confronted with and had to deal with, but were often not so easy.
The interviews showed that most foster parents were afraid that the children might return to the family of origin at some point. This thought is very stressful for many families, even if the probability of a return is low.
What are the benefits of being a foster family?
In most interviews, the benefits mentioned are the children's bonds with the foster parents. Experiencing this process is emphasized as positive. The foster mother K. comments on this: "No matter whether bodily, adopted or in foster care - when you see a child for the first time, you know: we are now the world for this child. And it ours."
In France, the focus groups were carried out with two foster families. The process of finding foster families who receive unaccompanied minors was not easy. In general, in France, young unaccompanied minors do not live with host families, whether they are volunteers or work for the department; this is rare and often informal.
What kind of obstacles do you face after becoming a foster family ?
Family 1 : “It is always quite difficult when the path is not a long one after 18 years (no recognition, no residence title...). Difficulties also when a young person comes from a "rich" family and feels superior to others.
Family 2 : “The lack of availability because I work and take into account the other members of the family”
What are the benefits of being a foster family ?
Family 1 : “To have an open mind, to exchange on different values, customs from one country to another... It's very enriching !”
Family 2 : “Meetings, cultural exchanges, becoming a reference point for the rest of their journey...”
In the Czech Republic the discussions with foster families revealed that there are pleanty of obstacles professionals in the foster care system and foster parents and children face. Among them we mention: