Popolin program discussed the issue of the amount of children who are living in children’s residential homes, despite the fact that povery in the country is being better controlled.
Remenda Grech, Alternative Care Director, stated that these homes are needed for society because, in many cases, children are not sent there due to poverty reasons but due to abuse circumstances. Although progress was made on the prevention of such cases, unfortunately she said that the reality still exists and therefore the social services offered by these homes will remain fundamental to society because they protect the interests of these children.
Ms Grech said that authorities do their utmost for these children to remain with their families or enter the foster care system, however there are cases in which children cannot live in a family environment due to the extensive trauma they experienced.
Although many persons associate these children with families with financial difficulties, Ms Grech added that she met with various cases whereby although the family was in a stable financial situation, there were circumstancces where the families found it difficult to create a relationship with their children. She stressed that authorities, such as the medical sector, the social assistance and education, should be flexible and work together to protect the interests of children.
There are currently some 450 boys and girls who are living away from their families, including children who live with other relatives or are in foster homes. There are 203 children who are living in residential homes. Grech stated that this year saw more children living with relatives and foster homes than in residential homes. “There are currently some 15 residential homes, the number varies according to children’s needs because the system adapts according to their needs and not children adapting to the system”.