The Italian Almanac

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children at orphanage

Italian News - September 18

All of Italy's orphanages will close by the end of the year, despite delays in organizing alternatives, according to Welfare Minister Paolo Ferrero. Speaking at a meeting with representatives from regional governments and sector associations, Ferrero said the deadline for closing children's institutes would not be postponed, despite demands from the centre-right opposition.

"An extension is not under consideration," he said. "We are working to help those regions with most difficulties in order to reach our objective. "However, we are well aware that closing these institutes is not a project that can be improvised in three months. We are working to make up for any delays in recent years and, at the end of the year, we'll take stock and see where we're at".

The closure of Italy's orphanages was established under a 2001 law, as part of a move to improve the lot of children in state care. Some of the existing institutes will be replaced by small, community-style centres but the emphasis will be on foster care, which is still relatively uncommon in Italy compared to other countries.

The National Association of Care Communities (CNCA) welcomed the decision to push ahead with closing the institutes, which have been criticized for providing old-fashioned and psychologically unhealthy conditions for raising children.