MSWC’s Foster Care Program was initiated in 1970 and is funded jointly by the MSWC and Directorate of Women and Child Welfare Board, Government of Maharashtra. It is managed by the MSWC Foster Care Committee assisted by trained staff.
Foster Care identifies families, especially single parent units that face financial problems and require assistance to educate their children. It is a programme that seeks to support children whose families are experiencing or have been through events that have left them severely incapable of caring for them. Typically these are events driven by ill-health, the death of an earning family member, or an event where one or more adults in the family have to be absent for some length of time with no one to care for the children.
Foster Care works on the philosophy that children are best nurtured in their own home, and if an economic event can be tackled without removing the child from his / her natural surroundings, that would be best. Financial assistance is offered in cases where required for the education of the child, or when a sick child needs medical or nutritional care, or when limited resources in the house are required for medical needs of an adult in the family. Financial help has been provided for as long as two years to families facing extreme crises.
Foster Care also conducts in depth home studies to monitor the child’s progress at home and at school. Extra tuition is arranged for if required and medical care and attention is given to children who are covered under the programme. Foster Care aims to bridge a need gap in the family’s temporary financial crisis. It does not seek to offer permanent cover, and disbursals are strictly monitored. Most importantly, families of beneficiaries report regularly to the organisation and seek cessation of the grant if the financial crisis has blown over.
Fifty children are being supported with a grant from the Directorate of Women and Child Welfare Board, Pune with an amount of Rs. 6000 per child per annum up to completion of a milestone in formal or vocational training. However, private donors contribute to a coverage that is far greater - over 300 children are currently sponsored by private donors.