The Hungarian article is based on an interview with Maria Herczog, Hungarian member of the UNCRC on her views regarding a recently submitted bill on the new system of fostering in Hungary. The new bill proposes that all foster parents receive salaries, have to give up their daily jobs and need to care for at least 4 children. They are entitled to holidays during which time other services have to take over the care of the children.
According Maria Herczog the bill has an ‘air’ of the 1930’s and is a large mistake. It would, in her view encourage parents to choose to be foster parents simply because of the money – which will also mean that it will be predominantly very poor families, in rural areas with no other employment possibilities who choose to be foster parents. She points out that most children in foster care have special needs and previously foster parents legitimately took on one or two children only, to be able to give them enough attention. Also they need to be close to services like physiotherapy and developmental pegagogist – which are only ensured in larger municipalities.
While this article does not mention, other press coverage also pointed out how detrimental it was for fostered children that foster parents could go on holiday without the fostered children (reinforcing the idea that they are not part of the family?). Maria Herczog pointed out in addition to this that the salary proposed is meager and a 24-hour ‘job’ is required in return, without proper institutional support. She points out in the interview the different international practices that should be followed, including professional fostering, but in those cases the parents are well-qualified social workers, teachers etc. who can foster children with multiple challenges. Clearlythe bill seems to be a step-back for Hungarian fostering.