In September 2017, MCT launched the first government-backed foster care project in Morocco. “Familles de Protection” (or “Osar al-Himaya”) aims to place vulnerable children, who would otherwise be cared for in residential institutions, in long-term foster families where they can receive the support they need. In a stable and supportive family environment, they will also have full access to health care, psychological support, and education.
More than 80,000 children in Morocco are currently accommodated in residential centres. Many of these children come from difficult circumstances and are outside of family care. These centres, however, are often under-resourced, overcrowded, and unable to provide vulnerable children with the care they need. Institutional care negatively impacts the physical development of children who often experience motor skill delays, poor health and sickness. Children raised in residential care also suffer from a number of emotional, behavioural and intellectual impairments.
It has been proved through research that children that live in families achieve better comparative outcomes than those who live in institutions. Families are indeed more likely to meet the needs of an individual child and provide opportunities to encourage his or her development. For this reason, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children should live with their families. If it can’t be their biological family, it should be an alternative family such as a kinship or foster family.
The project “Familles de Protection” was developed in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Youth and Sport, UNICEF Maroc, and is funded by the European Union. This groundbreaking initiative aims to find solutions for children that have been in contact with the criminal justice system, either as victims or having committed crimes, and that are currently living in residential centres. In line with the UN guidelines on juvenile justice, this project will favour social reintegration and the well-being of children in conflict with the law.
So far, 88 participants have attended our foster care trainings and more than 1,600 members of the community have attended awareness workshops on foster care. We have also received 56 general enquiries from potential families and we are now preparing for the first 3 placements!
Upholding children’s fundamental right to a family home, this project will establish clear guidance and protocols over a period of three years for the delivery of successful foster placements for children who pass through the court system. The project will develop new evidence regarding the acceptability, feasibility, and cost-effectiveness of fostering in Morocco. Our objectives are to place 7 children by the end of the first year and 30 children by the end of the project.
To learn more about the kind of children that our foster care project will help, click here.