Lithuania considers keeping troubled parents with fostered children

Hundreds of children are being taken from their home when their safety is at risk, but now Lithuania's ruling party wants at least one parent to go with them

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Lithuania
Lithuania considers keeping troubled parents with fostered children - NewsMavens
Lonley child, Pixabay

Why this story matters:

Numerous Lithuanian children are being removed from high-risk home situations, but the ruling Farmers and Greens Party seems to think that this goes against "biological families" rights and is determined to change the legislation. The idea is that at least one of the child's parents should go into foster care as well.

The situation in Lithuania is already difficult for welfare officers and hospital facilities that are forced to care for children when emergency foster parents are hard to find.

Temporary fostering is already in short supply, and forcing the families who are willing to foster, to also accommodate one of the child's parents is likely to restrict the pool of eligible families further.

Two emergency foster mothers have shared what it was like to help these children with journalists of the LRT channel. One of them received a newborn baby suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome, as her mother was drunk at the time of birth. "It seems every movement, caused her pain" the foster parent remembered.

After soothing the baby's screams for three months, she saw the child slowly relaxing and changing, which, she said, compensated for all the hardship. Neither of the child's parents ever inquired about the baby. Another foster parent remembered receiving children who had never seen healthy food before.

Demonstrators, who don't like when children are away from their biological families for any reason, have accused emergency foster parents of being "part of the international trafficking in children."

Details from the story:

  • Lithuania has 18,400 children growing up in families deemed at risk, nearly 3,000 in orphanages -- of which 390 have special needs. Only 98 Lithuanian children were adopted last year.
  • The bill tabled by members of the Lithuanian ruling party aims to oblige emergency foster parents to take one of the parents along with the child if they want to go. An emergency foster parent interviewed by LRT television is protesting the move, saying that emergency foster parents have the right to privacy and choice when it comes to accepting adults into their homes.
  • The ruling party also wants to fine people who file false reports to child welfare services.
  • Lithuania has also seen a demonization campaign against overseas adoption. 
  • Some MPs want to radically reform emergency care as well.
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