to English presentations
On 16 May 2014, OPZ (Public Psychiatric Care Centre)
Geel organised a symposium on Foster family care (psychiatric
foster care) as an innovative care model in current mental
health care (MHC).
Geel's psychiatric family care programme is an interesting
form of psychiatric care which not only has a rich tradition,
but remains an innovative and inspiring model for the future.
The years of experience with psychiatric foster care can in
fact be a source of inspiration in community care. The recent
expansion of foster family care approaches in various European
countries attests to this. The Geel model, which has been
further adapted to the intrinsic societal, cultural and social
context, has provided inspiration. Good examples are the German
model of assisted living in a family context (‘Betreutes
Wohnen in Familien’; Germany, Austria and Switzerland),
the French model (‘Accueil familial thérapeutique’)
and the Italian IESA model (‘Inserimento Eterofamiliare
Supportato di Adulti sofferenti di disturbi psichici’).
In Belgium, too, this specific form of foster care offers
various possibilities for MHC reform. In recent years OPZ
Geel has been fully committed to differentiate and modernise
the model based on an evidence-based methodology.
In its modernised form, Foster family care can be readily
incorporated into the new psychiatric care landscape that
is developing in the framework of MHC reform in Belgium (‘Artikel
107’), especially in connection with functions 3 and
5. This special form of foster care could also have a place
in the spectrum of supportive housing in other Belgian regions
from the point of view of differentiated assisted living (function
5). Moreover, Foster family care can fulfil an inspirational
role in implementation of function 3, which involves rehabilitation
with the focus on (re)integration and social inclusion; specifically,
for example, in the existing initiatives on work (day activity
centres and supported work programmes) and leisure (meeting
centre, leisure facilities, and social inclusion initiatives
such as for example art and theatre projects). The expertise
necessary for this - with regard to the criteria for successful
expansion of the approach - is in addition widely available.
Moreover, in terms of healthcare economics this is an approach
in which resources are very efficiently used to support chronically
psychologically vulnerable people.
During the symposium, OPZ Geel is aiming to initiate a dialogue
with care professionals in MHC, the social work and welfare
sectors, care managers, policymakers and policy officers,
government representatives, various stakeholders and interested
parties in the broader sense. In that sense the symposium
offers a forum where participants can work together on finding
various solutions for allowing the Foster family care model
to be inspiring in the context of community care and current
The following topics are considered:
- Foster family care as a source of inspiration in community
- Foster family care in the context of MHC reform in Belgium.
- Foster family care in Geel today: an innovative differentiated
model, with special attention to ‘children in foster
families’ as an innovative project.
- Foster family care from the perspective of healthcare
economics and the financial point of view.
- Foster family care in current modes of application from
an international perspective.
Prof. Dr Chantal Van Audenhove
Dr Eric De Smet
Dr Walter Krikilion
Simultaneous interpretation facilities and
Contributions are in both English and Dutch. Throughout the
symposium, participants can make use of simultaneous interpretation
facilities in the plenary sessions (in both directions: English-Dutch
During the breaks there is ample time for networking and
visiting the various information stands such as those on the
current range of services, the Foster Family Council, the
Foster Family Care Patient Council, the ‘recovery orientation’,
foster care in the province of Antwerp, and European foster
Go to general information
For further information, please
contact day chair: Dr Walter Krikilion, psychotherapist and
theologian, staff member in patient care, OPZ Geel, tel. +
32 (0)14 57 93 18 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.