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Czech institutional care for children is very costly

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Prague, Dec 25 (CTK) – The stay of small children in an institution costs the Czech state twice as much money than the life in a foster family and the social care that is to prevent the forced taking of children from a family is even 15 times cheaper, Lumos, an organisation helping children, has said.

A year in an institute costs over half a million crowns, long-term foster care roughly 243,000 crowns and prevention about 33,500 crowns, Lumos said.

“The costs of the stay of one hundred children in child homes correspond with the costs of field social work with threatened families in which almost 1,200 children live,” it added.

Hence its recommendation to invest more in prevention, support for biological families and services for them.

For years, the Czech Republic has been criticised by domestic and foreign organisations for the fragmentation of the care and a high number of children in institutions.

The Child and Family association said the Czech Republic was the last country in Europe in which it is possible to send children under three to children’s homes.

The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry has said the number of the children in institutions has been continually falling. At the end of last year, there were around 1,200 of them, while the figure stood at almost 2,000 in 2010.

The annual stay of a child in an institute cost 530.544 crowns last year, said Lumos, referring to the data from the Finance Ministry.

However, the total expenditures may be even higher as the institutions are co-sponsored from private sources.

Professional foster care for a transition period is cheaper than institutional care. Last year, it cost roughly 423.600 crowns.

Long-term foster care cost 243.240 crowns last year, Lumos said.

Field social work is the cheapest form of help. The group Amalthea has calculated the costs per family at 75.000 crowns a year.

Some 8.2 billions a year are spent on child protection. Over one half of the sum is sent to the institutions, but only one-tenth to the sphere of prevention.

The Czech branch of the Lumos Foundation was established in 2008.

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