Parental care: Any behaviour pattern in which a parent invests time or energy in feeding and protecting its children (offspring).

Children without parental care: children who are not living with or being cared for by biological parent, and who are registered as being without parental care according to decisions made by authorities based on either:

  • Family Law
  • Social/Child Protection Law
  • Criminal Law

Children without parental care (definition of the UN General Assembly Guidelines for the alternative care for children): all children not in the overnight care of at least one of their parents, for whatever reason and under whatever circumstances.

Children may be without parental care can be due to the following reasons:

Orphan children: Children, whose only parent or both parents are dead or missing.
Deprivation of parental rights: The ultimate legal sanction applicable to parents who do not ensure the minimum conditions for child development/upbringing. It can only be decided upon by a court.
Abandonment or Relinquishment by the parent(s): Abandonment refers to situations where the child is left by the parent(s) with no immediate provision of care and where the parent(s), at the time of leaving the child, do(es) not yet know if any other supervision/care will be guaranteed for the child (e.g. a child is left on the doorstep of an institution, or a medical clinic). Relinquishment refers to situations where the parent(s) surrender their parental rights voluntarily in the knowledge that supervision/care will be provided to the child immediately at the time of leaving the child (e.g. the mother leaves the child in the maternity ward after delivery through consultation with the medical personnel.)
Parents temporarily unable or /not in a position to care for the child: Due to social, economic, health/disability reasons, indeterminate location of parents (parents were missing), neglect or violence (including children temporarily left behind by migrating parents or where one or both parents are in prison).

Number of children to whom care was not established: who are registered with the State as being without parental care but for whom formal care has not yet been established. The decision by authorities concerning where to place the child is still pending, and hence the case remains officially unresolved (although informal/temporary arrangements may have been made).

Formal care: All care situations where the child’s placement was made by order of a competent authority. It includes children placed in all types of residential care establishments (both public and private) and children placed in formal fostering or under guardianship.

Family-based care service: A formal service provided as a substitute when the child, for different reasons, cannot be cared for in their biological family. It includes various arrangements made by order, or with the agreement, of a court or other competent authority. These notably include "foster care", "patronat", "guardianship" and "trusteeship" (if the child actually lives with the appointed person), regardless of whether or not the carer is related to the child and whether or not financial compensation or allowances are paid to the carer.

Foster care: Provision of parental care to children not related through legal or blood ties. The term “foster care” refers to formal, temporary placements made by the State with families that are trained and supervised by social services. Foster parents normally receive a special fee or allowance.
Guardian care: care provided by a guardian who is legally appointed adult representative for a child. Guardians in most cases are relatives. However, the existence, process and duties associated with guardianship vary from case to case and from country to country. The decisions on guardianship are made by the “family court”, which is guided by the “family law” As the State has no duty to finance guardians, special fees or allowances are, in many cases, not available for guardians.
Other type family based care: may include informal Kinship care which is the full-time care of a child by a relative or another member of the extended family. This type of arrangement is typically arranged without formal legal proceedings and is unregulated by the State), or other types of care arrangements where children live in a family setting.

Residential Care: care given to children outside of the patient's home. Residential care services take into account the needs and wishes of the individual, weighed against the resources and policies of statutory agencies. There are various residential care options available, depending on the needs of the individual.

Residential care institution: a collective living arrangement where children are looked after by adults who are paid to undertake this function.

Children in public institutional care broadly refer to those children under the full-time care of the State either on a permanent or temporary basis
Children in non-public institutional care refer to children in SOS villages and other NGOs-run services, financed in total or in part by non-State sources.
Children who are not being cared for full-time (e.g. they attend boarding school on a week-day basis only) are not included in this category.

Public residential care:

Infant homes: institutions which care for children 0-3 years old (occasionally older children);
Children’s homes: institutions established as substitute homes for children without parental care.
Institutions for physically/mentally disabled: include homes for children with disabilities, including dystrophic hospitals and boarding schools. Also included are mixed institutions (for children and adults) living with disabilities.
Family-type homes: family-type institutions where caregivers live with (usually up to 10) children without parental care, and in which the caregivers assume duties connected to child care according to the approved legislation.
General boarding schools (fully state funded): a school at which the pupils receive board and lodging during the school term. Children living in boarding schools refer only to those who are at full state support and sleep most nights at the school (children who spend most nights with their family, or who attend special boarding schools for gifted children or art/ sport schools, should be excluded).
Temporary placement centres/shelters: is an institution that provides emergency care and short term accommodation for children without parental care, including children who are abandoned or relinquished (including those left by mothers in health care establishments) and children found in vagrancy, beggary and other cases in which there is a need for emergency accommodation. Children in these structures will either be returned to their family or be referred to social services.

Non-public residential care:

Children’s village (SOS village): a residential institution comprising two or more family-type homes, within which caregivers assume the duties of bringing up children without parental care.
Other non-public institutional care: institutions for children, (including family type) that are funded by non-State sources, including those run by NGOs and religious organizations.

Public expenditure on residential care institutions: iis the value of goods and services bought by the State and its articulations. Public expenditure can be classified according to the official body and organization from which budget it is paid, as for example:

  • The central state and its ministries
  • Regional and local authorities
  • Separate public bodies
  • International organizations.

Public expenditure on residential care institutions includes:

  • Direct expenditures for residential care institutions
  • Expenditure other than for residential care institutions that should refer mainly for general administration of residential care institutions at the central, regional and local levels and for other functions such as inspection and evaluation.
  • Transfers for residential care institutions

Data source: Ministry of Social Protection, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance

Adoption: The formal, permanent transfer of parental rights to a family other than a child’s own and the formal assumption by that family of all parenting duties for the child.

Domestic adoption: is an adoption that involves adoptive parents and a child of the same nationality and the same country of residence.

Intercountry adoption: one that involves a change in the child’s habitual country of residence, whatever the nationality of the adopting parents.

Step-adoption: adoption by a step parent (i.e., by the parent’s partner) Step- adoptions typically occur when the parent of a child remarries and the new spouse legally adopts the step-child. Step-adoptions ought not to be included in total adoptions as the child remains with one of its parents.

Gross adoption rate: The total number of adoptions per 100,000 children aged 0–3 (although there may also be adoptions of older children).

Intercountry adoption rate: (per 100,000 population aged 0-3)

Children available for adoption: Children who are registered by the State as available for adoption, but who have not yet been adopted.

Children cared for, by formal arrangements other than by the family, as a proportion of all children of same age group (Survey data) (Eurostat, EU-SILC): includes formal childcare and other types of care, which correspondingly refers to

Formal childcare:

  • Education at pre-school or equivalent
  • Education at compulsory education
  • Child care at centre-based services outside school hours
  • Child care at day-care centre organised/controlled by a by public or private structure.

Other types or care:

  • Child care by a professional child-minder at child's home or at child-minders's home
  • Child care by grand-parents, other household members (outside parents), other relatives, friends or neighbours.