Estonia: Almost 800 children live in orphanages

Estonia has almost 800 children living in orphanages out of a total of 3,000 children who are unable to grow up with their birth families for various reasons, ERR reports. Around 1,500 children are in foster care, 600 have been adopted, and a little over 150 are in temporary foster care. Maarja Kuldjärv, head of foster care support services at the Estonian Social Insurance Board, said that there was a significant need for more families to provide foster homes. Awareness about alternative options, such as foster families, was low, she said. Jane Snaith, head of the local NGO, Igale Lapsele Pere (Family for Every Child), said that there was a lack of understanding how to support children in orphanages in Estonia. The Ministry of Social Affairs is currently working on a draft law to establish a system of support centres for foster families.