Some good COVID news
06 October 2021

During these challenging times for vulnerable children around the world, we have been encouraged by the Royal government of Thailand’s response to accelerate and promote the provision of emergency foster care placements for children who have been orphaned as a result of COVID.
At a recent webinar to discuss the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Day of General Discussion (DGD), which this year focussed on children in alternative care, the Director General of the Department of Children and Youth in the Royal Thai goevnerment praised Care for Children’s work and explained the importance of alternative care, especially during the current pandemic.
“From the current COVID situation we know that there are many orphans or children who cannot live with families. The Department of Children and Youth has used the concept of family as its foundation. We have worked with our network partners to develop measures for the provision of foster care as an emergency service, by providing guidelines for providing this service – especially for the Shelters for Children and Families which are spread out around the whole country. The Shelters for Children and Families can now be the mechanism for this operation.”
Care for Children is in the process of training all 77 Shelters for Children and Families. Training, which started at the beginning of the year and will finish this December, is giving them the knowledge and skills required to set-up and run their own foster care services. This is in addition to all 29 government Child Welfare Homes (orphanages) that Care for Children has already enabled to run family placement services throughout the country. Although this training has had to take place online due to current COVID restrictions, we have been pleasantly surprised at how well it has gone and how responsive the participants have been.
Instead of referring children who have lost parents due to the pandemic to orphanages, the Shelters are being encouraged to place these children straight into local foster families. For those children whose parents have COVID and are too unwell to care for them, the Shelters will organise temporary care for them, through family members or foster families in the community. The Director General added:
“Thanks to Care for Children for providing training, and imparting knowledge and skills in terms of quality work practices for the practitioners and officials.”

During the webinar, the Director General also explained how new guidelines and minimum standards will help ensure foster care is delivered effectively and in the best interests of the child.
“We have created guidelines for foster care, which have now been approved by the National Child Protection Committee, and these guidelines outline the process of providing childcare services that are appropriate for each child. In addition, we are drafting minimum standards for the provision of foster family services. These standards will set out the necessary requirements for foster care and will be made available to the people providing the care and to the children too. It is important that both the carers and the children are prepared, and especially when we look at some of the children under the Department’s care who are older.”
Care for Children has been a key player in helping the government develop these guidelines and minimum standards, and will continue to support the government in ensuring foster care is one of a range of alternative care options for orphans and vulnerable children in Thailand.
Jane Arnott, Care for Children’s Country Manager for Thailand, has made this poignant observation that highlights the very heart of Care for Children's strategic, developmental and sustainable approach:
“The last time Thailand faced an urgent child welfare crisis was after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, and at that time, there was no alternative for orphaned and vulnerable children other than to be placed into a Child Welfare Home. Fast forward 16 years, during this current crisis, and with thanks to Care for Children’s support, the country now has a robust family placement system in place to protect newly orphaned and vulnerable children in safe and loving families.”

We would like to thank the following organisations for their generous support of this work, as well as those who wish to remain anonymous.
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