The event “Acolhimento Familiar: Desafios e Potencialidades em Portugal” (En. “Foster Care: Challenges and Potentialities in Portugal”) took place on June, 22nd, in Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
In this final conference 87 people participated. They were foster families, professionals, students, and others interested in this subject.
In the “Welcoming session”, we had speeches of:
Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins – Our host at Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and its Executive Administrator, also a member of IAC’s Advisory Council, talked briefly about the importance of this topic in our society.
Dulce Rocha – IAC’s President shared how it is important to our institution to be involved in this subject, since our mission involves every child’s rights, including the right to have a family and grow up in a safe and affectionate environment.
Ana Jorge – Lisbon’s Holy House of Mercy Provider (Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa – SCML). Ana’s speech focused on how SCML has been improving its efforts to respond to child’s needs, as well as the availability to work with other institutions to promote foster care.
Rosário Farmhouse – The President of the National Commission for the Promotion of the Rights and Protection of Children and Young People spoke about protective measure in the context of our promotion and protection system.
Next, the session “Foster Care in Portugal in the XXI Century” was moderated by Fernanda Salvaterra and had the contribution of professionals related to Foster Care, who gave the practical perspective of foster care, and the latest investigations about this subject. Our speakers were:
Rui Godinho – The Director of the Children and Youth Department of Lisbon’s Holy House of Mercy.
Rui Azevedo – Technical Director of a Care Home for Children and Youth.
Both presented the work of their respective institution and how the foster care process works in each, from the evaluation and selection of families to the matching with a child. They also shared the difficulties in the intervention, how each institution overcomes them, and the activities to promote and attract candidates.
In this session, we also heard:
Eunice Magalhães – Researcher at CIS-IUL and assistant professor at the Master of Community Psychology, Protection of Child and Youth at Risk, shared her work regarding what motivates people to be foster families and how to recruit them.
In the following session “Being a Foster Family in Portugal”, moderated by Paula Paçó, we had three interventions of adoptive and foster families, who shared their personal experiences, as well as the perspective of other families with whom they contact and are part of their social support network:
Nadine Santos – President of the Portuguese Association for Foster Care (and a Foster Family).
Luiz Soveral – Foster family (who participated in the training in Portugal and Lithuania).
Maria Sequeira Mendes – Adoptive Family and the Coordinator of the project “Adopt and Foster”.
Afterwards, the team consisting of Fernanda Salvaterra, Mara Chora, and Rita Amaral dedicated a session to present the Conscious Parent Academy Project, its activities, and results (e.g., training, helpdesk, brochures). They also made a brief summary of the differences we found in foster care between Portugal, Poland, and Lithuania.
To finish session, they showed the video with the testimony of the foster families who participated in the project.
Finally, the closing session was conducted by Vasco Alves (member of IAC’s Board) and Fernanda Salvaterra, who expressed their gratitude to everyone involved in the event.
We believe that the event was successful since we had a “full house” (as you can see in the photos). Participants’ feedback was given through a form, and the overall evaluation was positive (55.2% Very good; 34.5% Good).