Refugee minors: Flemish foster parents show a warm heart

An appeal launched by the Flemish fostering association Pleegzorg Vlaanderen to find foster parents for young refugees has proved to be a success. A foster home has been found for 121 minors, while seventy youngsters are still waiting for a place.

The refugees are all unaccompanied minors who have fled their country. The Flemish fostering association launched its appeal under the slogan "Give the world a home". At present it's too early to make a full evaluation. Only in time will it become clear whether the initiative has been a long-term success.

The Flemish fostering association started selecting candidates last January. During the summer most foster children arrived at their foster families. The selection procedure ran for several months and that led to several candidates calling it a day.

Pleegzorg Vlaanderen's Niels Heselmans: "For many people it took too long, but for us the most important thing is to find a good home for a child. Many foster parents came forward in the hope of caring for young children or girls."

However, most young refugees are teenagers from Afghanistan, who arrived here on their own after a long journey. This posed a problem for many candidate foster parents who had hoped for a young child or girl, but these are not the people able to make the arduous journey from Afghanistan.

Seventy minors are still waiting to join foster parents. Some couples have already been selected, for some minors nobody has yet come forward.