Foster care

What is a foster care (guardianship)?

A foster care (guardianship) is established for a child in cases where the child‘s parents due to various adverse circumstances such as addictions, diseases, lack of social skills, failure to take proper care for a child or abuse of parental authority cannot raise a child by themselves.

If a child is over 14 years of age, the guardianship is established and a guardian is appointed for such child. These terms are related to the child's participation in making the decisions that concern the child or when representing his/her interests; the child has a greater share of responsibility. There is no essential difference between the duties of a foster parent and a guardian.

Foster care (guardianship) is a care, upbringing and education of a child removed from parental care who in accordance with the laws has been entrusted to a natural person or legal entity, also ensuring and maintenance of other proper conditions that are necessary for the child to develop both spiritually and physically, the protection and representation of personal, property rights and legitimate interests of a child.

The participants of the child‘s foster care (guardianship) are: a child removed from parental care, his/her biological family (the parents and relatives of a child) and a foster parent (guardian). This foster care (guardianship) is carried out together with the Child Rights Protection Divisions and other institutions related to the Child Rights Protection. In case of a foster care (guardianship) the parents remain obliged to a certain extent in respect of their children, for example they have a duty to pay maintenance and also have the right to see their child if this is not in conflict with the child's interests.

The procedures of establishing and maintenance of a foster care for a child are governed by the Regulations of organizing foster care of a child.

https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/TAR.5CC1C0529694/femTTLHPhS 

Care in the family of foster parents

Step one. Who may apply?

The following persons can be appointed to act as foster parents (guardians):

• persons under the age of 65 years, with the exception of a close relative (close relatives of a child are his/her grandparents, siblings) if such the close relative wishes to foster (guard) a child under the age of 10 years on a temporary basis.

• at least 21 years old, with the exception of a close relative of a child.

There is no obligation for a person who wishes to foster (guard) a child to be married or to have an accomodation owned by such person under the right of ownership. The most important condition is that a person who wishes to foster (guard) a child removed from parental care would have the conditions that are adequate for the child to grow and develop.

It is important to note that you will not be able to be a foster parent (guardian) if:

• will not correspond to the age specified;

• you have been recognized as incapacitated in this field or as a person with a limited capacity in this field;

• a child has been separated from you;

• you have already been an adoptive father (mother) and your parental authority has been restricted because you have performed your duties improperly or you have been separated from a child;

• if you have been suspended from the foster parent‘s (guardian‘s) duty due to improper performance of your duties as a foster parent (guardian), failure to ensure the protection of the rights and interests of a foster child (a child under guardianship), due to the exercise of your rights for gainful purposes.

Foster care (guardianship) in the household

Foster care (guardianship) in the household can be established for a child removed from parental care.

What is a household?

A household is a non-profit limited liability public legal entity established in accordance with the legal acts.

A household fosters four and more children (the total number of children in a household including own children – no more than eight children) in the family environment. The total number of children can be higher when the brothers and sisters are not separated from each other, or lower when a disabled child is fostered.

A household is a foster parent (guardian) of the children that ensures the implementation and protection of the rights and interests of the children who are fostered in the household, provides social foster care for the children, a necessary assistance as per individual needs of the children in the family environment.

Financial support

Each child who is fostered (guarded) in a household every month during a period of his/her foster care (guardianship) is paid a foster care (guardianship) allowance corresponding to a value of 4 basic social benefits (152 EUR). When a fostered (guarded) child is paid an orphan‘s pension and/or a periodic benefit for the maintenance of a child, a value of foster care (guardianship) allowance is equal to a difference between a value of 4 basic social benefits and a value of these benefits.

A targeted supplement to a foster care (guardianship) allowance with a value of 4 basic social benefits (152 EUR) is awarded and paid once a month for a child for whom foster care is established in a household to ensure foster care (guardianship) of a child that is conducted by a household.

A foster care (guardianship) allowance and a targeted supplement to a foster care (guardianship) allowance shall not be awarded and paid:

1. if a child (person) is detained, serves an imprisonment related sentence, compulsory medical measures of in-patient monitoring in specialized mental health care facilities are imposed on him/her in accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania, a child (person) has been declared wanted or a child (person) has been declared missing by a court judgement;

2. if a temporary foster care (guardianship) of a child has been established at the parents‘ request because of their temporary leaving the Republic of Lithuania.

If a fostered (guarded) child is receiving training under a framework curricula for school education and/or under curricula of formal vocational training and is maintained (is provided with free accommodation and food) in the dormitory of a general education school or vocational training institution, or in the socialization centre for children, such the child is awarded with a benefit corresponding to a value of 2 basic social benefits (76 EUR) per month.

The household participants are guaranteed the maintenance income for the social foster care services they provide. This income cannot be lower than a value of 1.5 minimum monthly salary (MMS) established by the Government regardless of the number of the children fostered (guarded) in the household (570 euros). These funds are granted from the municipal budgets.

A state and municipal property can be handed over, i.e. lent on the grounds of commodate, to a household for a free of charge possession and use on a temporary basis for the purpose of executing its activities.

A household shall enter into an agreement with the municipality administration for financing social foster care as per a form of a model agreement and as per a written request of a household participant.

Care (guardianship) in institution

A child removed from parental care can be placed in the childcare institution only in exceptional cases where there is no possibility to take care for (guard) the child in the family of foster parents, care centre or household.

Care for the child under three years of age in the care institution can be established only in exceptional cases with the consent of the State Child Rights Protection Institution. The State Child Rights Protection Institution consents to the care of a child under three years of age in the childcare institution only in exceptional cases after identifying at least one of the following reasons

1) the child concerned requires specialized healthcare and/or nursing services the provision of which cannot be ensured by establishing care for the child in the family of foster parents, care centre or household;

2) the separation of a child from his/her siblings would compromise the best interests of the child;

3) care is established regarding urgent taking of a child into care from his/her legal representatives and there is no possibility to establish care for the child in the family of foster parents, care centre or household.

Foster care at the parents‘ request

If one parent leaves abroad, another parent remains a legal representative of a child (because of equality of the father‘s and the mother‘s rights in respect of a child), except where such the parent has been recognized by the court judgement as incapacitated or his/her parental authority has been restricted in respect of a specific child.

If both parents leave abroad or only one (single) parent, before leaving for a period not exceeding eighteen months and no later than 30 days in advance they must apply to the municipality administration of their place of residence and submit a request regarding the establishment of temporary foster care (guardianship) for a child and the necessary documents.

Temporary Stay

PROCEDURE OF GRANTING AUTHORISATION TO A CHILD FOR TEMPORARY STAY WITH A NATURAL PERSON WHO PERMANENTLY RESIDES IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY

A child at least 7 years old may be authorised for temporary stay with a natural person residing in a foreign country, except for the cases when the child is authorised for temporary stay with his/her family members, or seeking not to separate brothers and sisters, but not smaller than 3 years old.
The child’s guardian (carer) may grant authorisation to the child for temporary stay with a natural person who permanently resides in a foreign county if an appeal has been made to this effect:
• by the child’s relative;
• by an organization of a foreign country that has been granted authorization to engage in activities relating to the child’s welfare by a competent institution of a foreign country.
The Order of the Minister of Social Security and Labour No. A1-559 of December 28, 2011 “On approving the specification of the procedure for granting authorisation to a child placed in institutional custody (care) for temporary stay” lays down the principles, conditions and procedure of granting authorisation to a child for temporary stay with a natural person who permanently resides in the Republic of Lithuania or foreign country.

Procedure of granting authorisation to a child for temporary stay with the child’s relative

Procedure of granting authorisation to a child for temporary stay with natural persons of foreign organization

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