Trade unions and employers have reached an agreement on the right to short (or circumstantial) leave for foster children and foster parents, bringing policy in line with that of ordinary parents and children.
Short leave includes circumstances like attending weddings, funerals, or religious ceremonies like Holy Communion for Catholics.
“The ACV is very pleased with this agreement because it allows us to support foster children and foster parents during important events in their lives,” said Mathieu Verjans, national secretary of the General Christian Trade Union for Public Services (ACV), in a press release announcing the agreement.
“Even more than the concrete right to a day of short leave, this is, above all, a new step towards the full recognition of the incredibly important foster care. It is now up to the government to quickly translate this advice into legislation.”
Examples of circumstantial leave would include the right for a foster child to take a day of leave for the wedding of their siblings, whether that’s a foster sibling or not. Another example would include a foster child attending the funeral of their foster grandparents.
The recommendations agreed upon specify that these rights for families with foster children apply when it’s clear at the start of the placement that foster children will remain in the foster family for at least six months, which is considered long-term foster care.
After that foster care has lasted for three years, the rights become permanent for the rest of the foster child’s life. For example, foster parents will be able to take leave for the marriage of their foster children.