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Becoming a foster family

Every child needs a home and a family. Unfortunately, not all children have the chance to grow up in the care of their birth parents. It is extremely important for children who cannot grow up in their birth family for some reason to have a chance to live in another family suitable just for them. A family who wants and is prepared to offer care, support and love to a child born into another family can become the child’s foster family.

As of 01.01.2018, the suitability of foster families is assessed and the acts relating to the preparation of foster families are performed by the Social Insurance Board. The list of documents collected and data submitted for the assessment of suitability of foster families by the Social Insurance Board and the acts relating to the assessment of suitability of foster families are established by a regulation of the minister responsible for the area (https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/121122017044). Becoming a foster family is governed by several legal instruments, the main one being the Social Welfare Act (https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/103042018020).

Anyone who wants to become a foster family must contact the specialist of the regional unit of the Child Protection Department of the Social Insurance Board who will first conduct counselling in the course of which the specialist explains to the applicant the possibilities and conditions of becoming a foster family and provides information on data and documents that the applicant must collect and submit to the Social Insurance Board and on acts performed in the course of assessment of the foster family. Once the applicant has got the necessary information and is sure of his or her wish to become a foster family, the applicant must file a written request after which the Social Insurance Board starts the process of assessing and preparing the family which is necessary for becoming a foster family (including home visits, investigation into the family, referral to training). 

Specialists assessing and counselling foster families are located in four regions:


In general matters concerning substitute care please contact the Child Protection Department’s Adviser Natalja Grusdam, phone 5344 3741, Natalja.Grusdam@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee, or the Head of Substitute Care Nadežda Leosk, phone  5190 3179, e-mail Nadezda.Leosk@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee

Additional information

  • Social Welfare Act