Valetta, Malta, 1 – 4 November 2017 – Three hundred fifty youth and adults from more than 41 countries on six continents attended the 2017 International Foster Care Organization (IFCO) World Conference, Setting Sail from a Safe Port: Giving Our Children Confidence to Move Forward with Safe and Permanent Relationships. Notable among them was CERI-India’s Director of Advocacy Ian Anand Forber Pratt.
At the four-day event, Ian presented his workshop entitled “Foster Care and Family Strengthening Development as part of a DI Framework in India Care Reform in a Country of 1.2 + Billion People.”
Ian joined his fellow IFCO board members to meet Her Excellency, the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca. During her keynote speech, Madam President shared her vision of our interconnectedness in society and our collective duty to care for and do right by the children.
“Each decision made for the wellbeing of our children has a direct impact on the wellbeing of our society,” she said. “We cannot stand by while children are getting lost in the labyrinth of institutional systems. Let me encourage you to be champions of children’s rights and guardians of their best interests.”
CERI-India also helped host the Sri Lankan Delegation of Ms. K. D. M. Chandrani Bandara, the Honorable Minister of Women and Child Affairs, and Mrs. Marini De Livera, Chairperson for the National Child Protection Authority. Both leaders mentioned their experience from the IFCO conference will inform their efforts in Sri Lanka toward comprehensive child care reform.
The 2017 IFCO conference was held in partnership with Eurochild, who began day two of the conference with its “Opening Doors for Europe’s Children Campaign,” of which CERI-Moldova is a partner.
The IFCO’s annual conference offers attendees a broad spectrum of discussions, perspectives, and new ideas underpinned by the IFCO’s message that every person has a role in protecting children and promoting their wellbeing. Each year, the IFCO invites professionals, policymakers, caretakers, and youth to the IFCO platform to share, exchange, and learn from each other. The aim of the conference is to offer a balanced and inspiring program, focusing on best practices, informed policies, and children’s rights.
2017 Conference discussion topics included:
- Child protection systems and deinstitutionalization Reform: overall care system reform and DI and family based care in different regions across the world
- Meeting the needs of children due to migration
- Formal and informal educational outcomes for children during care and for caregivers
- Foster caregivers and social workers: education, training, assessment, approval, supervision and retention
- Understanding trauma and its effect
- Prevention, intervention, early childhood and permanency
- Partnership, engagement and children & youth participation
- Measuring success: preventative services, suitable placements, successful transitions and aftercare and the impact and measurement of caregivers successes and attainment