January 2019 update
Thanks so much to all who gave to RICF during 2018 to allow us to continue our work with vulnerable children and families in Romania. Special thanks to those who gave in response to our 20th anniversary appeal, which raised £7302.50 including Gift Aid. Thanks also to all those who give regularly each month. All these contributions go to ensuring that orphaned and abandoned children can be cared for in loving foster homes, and to working with vulnerable mothers to prevent abandonment of their children, helping equip them with the skills they need to raise their children.
This year we were grateful to the US Charity Remember Nhu and to one of our long-term Romanian supporters who gave special donations at Christmas time to allow us to bless the children and families we support with gifts to help them celebrate Christmas with their families at home.
For the young children being supported in our abandonment prevention project, the financial support which we provide to their mothers each month, which averages 225 RON (approx 41 GBP or 54 USD) per month, goes towards helping keep the family together but is certainly not enough to allow for luxury at Christmas time. Some of the families are in very poor accommodation, such as basement rooms never really intended for habitation, and money for firewood through the cold winter is a real issue for some. Therefore our team felt the best way to use designated Christmas money to bless these families was to buy them each a supermarket bag of key essentials such as oil, sugar, rice, vegetable preserves for the winter, fruit and some sweets and treats. These were distributed at the December support meeting and were gratefully received.
For the children in foster care, the normal allowance for food and clothing would not really stretch to cover a Christmas celebratory meal, and so having some extra supplies in the cupboards, including some sweets and treats will have made this time of year that bit more special.
Several of our long term foster carers will have had one or two children placed with them for over a decade and may not even remember celebrating Christmas without having them as part of the family! All of these families have a big heart and the child or children in foster care are treated with love and warmth and with equal value to any biological child or children in the family. However, our foster carers are on a very modest income and a bag of supplies to replenish the kitchen cupboard is always welcome!
A big welcome to the new participants in our 'A Family for me' project! We have been delighted to welcome four more foster carers to our support meetings since autumn 2018, funded by additional support from Remember Nhu. Here they are with RICF social worker Emilia at the RICF HQ in Bucharest.
This takes us to a team of 14 foster carers caring for 17 children between them, 6 boys and 11 girls with ages currently ranging from 8 to 18. Two of the foster carers care for two sisters each, and one cares for two unrelated girls who have been in a long term placement together for some years. 12 of the 14 foster carers are employed by the Romanian child protection authorities and RICF provides additional training and support to help equip them to provide the best possible environment for the children in their care.
We are careful to maintain the privacy of our foster carers and the children in their care, particularly now in the age of the world wide web where children with difficult pasts are successfully integrating into their school communities and extra-curricular clubs and activities, and would not want their lives made public to friends and colleagues.
In 2019 we are looking forward to receiving accreditation to provide the essential training programme for individuals wishing to become foster carers in Romania. Ovidiu, Simona and Emilia have been working on the necessary paperwork and we are looking forward to seeing the impact of this training as it 'goes live'.
Thanks again for your love, care and generosity! Best wishes and every blessing for 2019!