The Malta Independent 25 August 2019, Sunday

Permanent fostering 'will destroy' any chances for children to reunite with natural parents

Duncan Barry Monday, 24 August 2015, 08:58 Last update: about 5 years ago

Eman Seguna, who was fostered as a child said that he agrees with foster care “since he is a product of fostering” but said he can never agree with permanent fostering since it “will destroy any hope for natural parents to reunite with their children”.

Currently, the government is contemplating whether to introduce permanent fostering. As Family Minister Michael Farrugia put it in an exclusive interview with The Malta Independent, permanent fostering will be adopted only if biological parents blatantly refuse to follow-up on a family plan.

Mr Seguna, 27, who lived in an institution until he was fostered, told The Malta Independent that foster care gave him a “sense of stability” and he felt “sheltered” being part of a family.

He said he admires all foster carers since it is no easy task, especially when thesupport they receive is “minimal”.

Mr Seguna explained that fostering is there to give temporary shelter to children whose natural parents lack in certain areas.

“In certain cases, some children end up being fostered after suffering some form of abuse or due to some illness a parent would be facing. But each case is different and therefore every case has to be treated differently.

“As things stand, foster care is either for a short or long period. Despite the fact that fostering could be done for a long period of time, it is still considered temporary care.

“The fact that fostering is temporary instils a sense of hope in children that once professional help is sought, children may one day be reunited with their natural parents.

“Permanent fostering will destroy any hope for natural parents to reunite with their children since if there exists awindow of opportunity for the family to get back together as one, this will not happen.

“Everybody wants someone to believe in him and her. And so do natural parents. At timesnatural parents feel that their children chose another family instead of them and they give up on their children.

“Continuous professional support can help natural parents regain a sense of hope that one day they would reunite with their child and vice-versa,” Mr Seguna said.

“What would happen if permanent fostering is introduced? he asked, adding that if children would be cut off from their family it could lead to the child to become rebellious.

“Family members, natural parents or the children for that matter should not be treated in that way and should be allowed to integrate with one another,” he said.

Citing an example, Mr Seguna said that one needn’t scrap a car with a faulty engine since the engine can be repaired. And the same goes for natural parents, if they have their faults, there is room for improvement, he said. “Permanent fostering will defeat that purpose,” he pointed out.

While on the subject, Mr Seguna, who is a member of the Foster Carers Association, made it amply clear that just because he is against permanent fostering does not mean, in any way, that he has no respect for foster carers or that he should be treated in the way he is allegedly being treated by the association due to this fact.

Mr Seguna said that the association has side-lined him and has not updated him on the any decisions in relation to fostering.

“In the past, the association many times asked me to speak on fostering since I experienced foster care first-hand. But now that I am against this idea of permanent fostering, I am never roped in.

“Despite all this, I will continue to give my utmost towards this area,” he said.

In an interview with this newsroom, the association said it is in favour of permanent fostering.

“A number of studies have highlighted the benefits of permanent fostering,” the association had said.

 

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