Overview of the Foster Care System in Poland and the Process of Care Leavers Gaining Independence: Possibilities, Limitations, and Directions for Further Changes

Kulikowski Piotr - Colloquium Wydziału Nauk Humanistycznych i Społecznych AMW

Abstract: The social and political transformation that occurred in Poland following the fall of the communist system has resulted in an intensive development of non-governmental organizations, including those offering services for children and families. Social policy began to be perceived as a tool that allows for investing in the future of the youngest members of society (children and youth) rather than as a system of care services. Hence, the aim of this paper is to indicate threats and possibilities as regards the functioning of the foster care system and the process of adult care leavers’ gaining independence. A synthetic overview of formal changes that have occurred in Poland since 1982 in the range and forms of functioning of the mentioned institutions provides the basis for conclusions regarding the key problems. Based on this overview, the threats and possibilities of the contemporary foster care system are indicated, with particular attention paid to the process of care leavers’ as well as to determining directions for further changes of this system.