Foster Care in Malta
The incident from the ‘Shoebox Baby’ has recently given rise to the requirement for a proper law in situations where children need the intervention on the government to defend their interests in addition to their physical and emotional care. One particular legislation which does, albeit limitedly, take care of such situations is Legal Notice 13 of 1962 which supplies that if a youngster requires foster care the preferential placement ought to be that with members of the family such as an aunt or uncle. Where this really is not possible, using a family specially selected to the task. This Legal Notice also provides monitoring by way of a ‘welfare officer’ that is to visit the little one from time to time to meet up with himself as to a child’s well-being and to offer any advice. This law merely outlines what really should be done inside the fostering process but provides no supportive and administrative structures to back it. It also lacks clarity and detail with regards to how the fostering process is going to be performed, sustained and achieved well.
The Bill on Foster Care.
Bill 89 of 2007, which can be at the moment being debated in Parliament, aims to provide with the supporting structures for your fostering process in Malta. It arranges the administrative framework, including the Central Authority and also the Fostering Board, within which such process will be carried on efficiently. It also aims to manage voluntary agencies collaborating inside fostering process both at its commencement as well as for its duration and provides for that rights and necessary foster carers.
The Central Authority for being established from this proposed law may be the epicentre with the scrutiny of agencies planning to collaborate from the fostering process. This Authority will accredit such voluntary agencies to produce arrangements for your whole process from the fostering of a youngster. It is also empowered to revoke these accreditation as well as take action against any agency violating regulations on Foster Care.
The Fostering Board being set up with that Bill shall be composed of professionals specialised in a number of fields. What is interesting the following is that the Minister is binding herself to try and do her utmost to appoint as one from the members of this board, anyone of age, who himself or herself became a fostered child. This is significant as it aims to supply a holistic approach towards fostering process.
The main function on the Fostering Board would be to monitor your case of youngsters who need fostering as well as keep records thereof, to determine upon the suitability of foster carers, to deliver documentation to foster carers identifying them therefore, to analyze reports and complaints made against foster carers as well as take action to remedy the specific situation. Any decision taken with this Board could be challenged prior to Board of Appeal, whose decision is final. A foster carer or perhaps an agency possess the right to appeal from the decision in the Fostering Board or Central Authority along with so doing they’re able to also demand that this decision taken by them be suspended before the final decision is reached. This structure is innovative because currently there is no law which assists to foster carers.
This Bill also outlines the functions from the voluntary agencies collaborating inside fostering process. I use the saying ‘outlines’ because I believe this Bill has been more profound in a number of aspects as is going to be explained below. The agencies collaborating inside fostering process are to their own procedures but they also must ascertain that one objectives be completed. This includes it of prospective foster carers along with providing on-going support for current foster carers. The agency which enters into the fostering agreement using the carers provides the responsibility to watch all the placements made and must also investigate and toward the Fostering Board an investigation regarding any complaints received against foster carers.
Some Shortcomings and Foreign Legislation
It is undeniable this Bill is founded upon securing the top interests in the child. The establishment of solid structures like the Central Regulatory Authority, the Fostering Board, along with the Board of Appeal make sure our fostering process is solidly supported together with thoroughly scrutinised.
Minister Cristina, in her own parliamentary speech emphasised many a time that it is pervading objective would be the ‘best interests from the child’. Without doubt this Bill provides for your essential administrative and supportive structures necessary for the fostering process. However, for me, it isn’t able to incorporate a fundamental matter: articles in the law which deal directly with all the physical and emotional well-being from the child, the physical and emotional taking-care with the child. This Bill is much more concerned using the administrative entities involved, their rights and obligations, especially, the rights of foster carers.
I believe how the care and maintenance with the child and the ways to achieve the very best results from the particular case ought to be incorporated within this prospective legislation. There must be careful detailing with the items child care and maintenance means and the way this will be achieved. By this I am not implying that this agencies are certainly not already applying the highest of standards with regards to taking care in the fostered child but perhaps it would be securer whether it were a part of our legislation at the same time rather than only a practise? Wouldn’t it be more auspices for that fostered child to recognise that their own rights are well-protected for legal reasons? No doubt, the companies involved from the fostering process have gathered invaluable experience in their years of fostering work which enables it to contribute greatly regarding formulation of those a law.