Pathways to Education in Hungary with Public Care Background

Article excerpt

Abstract:

Hungarian child-protection system cares for 21,000 children and young adults. In the case of the children who were removed from their own family it is obvious that the professional bodies and the communities take the parental responsibilities, which means that all the governmental and the official agencies in the institutional child-care and the workers of the foster-care network must work on improving the lives of the children in state care. In Hungary it is not known exactly how the needs of the recipient determine the types of service they can receive. We do not have any information relating what principles prevail in the planning and provision of care and services, and additionally what are the effects of the structural transformation of the system starting 2013. In this study, we present the Hungarian child protection system and briefly also the education system, then we show the opinions of the decision-makers, the child protection professionals and the social workers in the public care system who were interviewed for Young People: Pathways to Education in Europe (YIPPEE) international research project - funded from the European Union's Seventh Framework Program. We deal with the young adults' educational career and with their aspirations for the future. We investigate those factors that can possibly determine the further and higher education career of young people with public care background and we have tried to identify possible supporting and inhibiting factors.

Keywords : Child Protection; Educational Carrier after Compulsory School; Supporting and Inhibitory Factors.

Introduction

Hungarian child-protection system cares for 21,000 children and young adults. In case of the children who were removed from their own family it is evident that the professional bodies and communities (educators, child welfare supervisors, foster parents) take the parental responsibilities (corporate parenting), which means that all the governmental and official agencies in the institutional child protection care and the workers of the foster care network must work on improving the lives of the children in care state (Jackson, 2007). There are two central trends which influence the way we view children and young people in care and schooling. The first is the compensatory thinking, which means an educational approach addressing the "problems" and troubled backgrounds of the children and youngsters in care. The second is the comprehensive thinking, referring to a unification of the social education and special educational provisions. The comprehensive thinking means that we focus on the children and young adults from troubled backgrounds instead of focusing on the resources which play a major role in the children and young adults' future (Bryderup, 2008). In Hungary it is not known exactly how the needs of the recipient determine the types of service they can receive. At the present moment we do not have any information regarding what principles prevail in the planning and provision of care and services, additionally, which are the effects of the structural transformation of the system from 2013 onwards. It is essential that the children's individual needs define what kind of services and support are needed and how these services and helping mechanism can give adequate answers to children's problems (Trocmé, 1999; UNICEF, 1997; Rácz, 2012). The regional way of operating is predictably overtaken by the less established professional principles; the planning, the provision of the services and the support of the educational carrier have an ad hoc nature; in the child protection system there is no conscious planning and the quasi-professionalism is typical (Rácz, 2012).

This article presents the major Hungarian experiences in the qualitative research phase of international YIPPEE research, based on the published national reports (Rácz, Csák & Korintus, 2010; Korintus, Csák & Rácz, 2011). 'Young People from a Public Care Background: Pathways to Education in Europe' international research was realized by the 7th Research Project of the EU - 'Young People and Social Discrimination' - give an overall picture of the possible helping and hindering factors that can influence the choice of a higher education career of young people with child care background between the ages of 19 and 21. …