There are currently 475 foster care families in Luxembourg but the country requires twice as many to keep children from being placed in institutional homes.

This information was provided by the Luxembourg Association of Foster Parents (Associatioun Fleegeeltere Lëtzebuerg), which advocates for the interests of foster children and families. The association highlights that 60% of children are currently placed in institutional foster care homes, a figure they attribute to insufficient efforts to promote and encourage individuals to become foster families.

According to Mireille Molitor, the president of the Association, there is a lack of initiative in establishing suitable frameworks to place children in foster families instead of the country's numerous institutional homes. Although reference is frequently made to the reform of the upcoming Child Protection Act, conditions are not expected to improve:

"There is a significant upcoming reform concerning parental authority; foster families will only have the authority to make day-to-day decisions. For other major decisions, the signatures of both birth parents will always be required. There will also be a change concerning pension funds and access to legal support. Those are major decisions that will impact us and make everything more complicated for us."

"We have the feeling of being undervalued," states the association — which has clear demands. "Foster parents should be treated the same way as birth parents, and they should be entitled to adoption leave and parental leave. The current status, solely based on voluntary work, needs clarification as there are currently no legal safeguards in place."

Additionally, there is a lack of awareness and active recruitment. The association also regrets that,  since 2016, no outreach campaign has been run by the Ministry of Education. However, the National Children's Office reports that this is because a major campaign would be nonsensical before the new Child Protection Act is established.

Michèle Bressanutti, director of the National Children's Office, explains that the new campaign will be planned once the Child Protection Act has been voted through. Nevertheless, she explains that work is still underway:

"We consistently conduct smaller awareness campaigns, rely on word of mouth, regularly update our website, create informative brochures, and actively engage in raising awareness among individuals in contact with children, including paediatricians and clinics, for instance."

The director further clarifies that a foster family should not be equated with an adoptive family since their objectives differ. A foster family serves as a temporary home for a child. Regarding placements, generalisations cannot be made as each child's case is unique. The overarching goal is to minimise the number of children placed in foster care:

"The implementation of direct interventions in the birth families is a priority for the new government. This means that we adopt a preventive approach which automatically reduces the need for placements in foster families," explains Bressanutti.