RIGA - The number of children growing up in orphanages has decreased by more than 500 since 2016, Welfare Minister Ramona Petravica (KPV LV) said on Latvian Television on Friday.
At present, 705 kids are living in government and municipal institutions and their number has dropped from 1,216 in 2016, the minister said.
The minister believes, though, that 705 kids growing up in institutions is still too many and it is necessary to do everything to reduce this number. Of all the children living in orphanages, only about 50 percent are legally "free" or available for adoption, while others formally have parents.
Petravica said that the priority is to work with parents to prevent the situations where children have to be removed from their families and put into institutions. To promote adoption, a new allowance is available to adoptive parents since last July.
Although the number of foster families and the children admitted to foster families is growing, Petravica believes that adoption would be the best solution for the parentless children.