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Development perspectives of foster care in Armenia: Research Analysis Results

This report, produced by the Center for Educational Research and Consulting (CERC) and Save the Children, summarises the broader research study ‘Development Perspectives of Foster Care in Armenia’, which examined the foster care pilot programme introduced in Armenia in 2005. The study aimed to find out if the pilot programme succeeded, what problems arose, how the programme could be improved and how foster care in Armenia could develop and expand effectively.

Foster care is not a widespread practice in Armenia. As of December 2012 there were around 15 ‘active’ foster families in the country, although there are government commitments to support 25 foster families. Approximately 500 children a year come under the care of legal guardians. And latest estimates suggest that almost 2,000 children,  including children with disabilities, are cared for in boarding  institutions and orphanages.  Fostering in Armenia is mostly long-term, and is often confused with adoption for this reason. Only two out of 15 foster parents interviewed for this research had experienced short-term fostering.

Overall, the research found that fostering is a positive experience for children and their foster families. Children interviewed in the foster care system were satisfied with the services they received. They successfully integrated in society, made friends and relationships, and could openly communicate with others in their community. However, the report highlights that the foster care model would benefit from some changes to improve outcomes for children.  

Key recommendations based on the findings of the research study include: reducing the need for fostering and other forms of alternative care through better preventive and community-based support services for biological families and legal guardians;  improving the legal framework for fostering; developing short-term and emergency models of foster care to meet children's needs effectively; developing an infrastructure to underpin fostering;  devising a more comprehensive approach to the care of children with disabilities, particularly through increasing community support services and treating foster care as a paid job; and raising awareness of foster care and the support services available to families.

Published 2014-01-21

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