Substitute care in the Czech Republic

Situations may arise in a child's life where the child cannot grow up in the care of their parents for various reasons. It is, therefore, essential that children whose parents are unable or unwilling to care for them are provided with the most appropriate possible solution, i.e., substitute care or adoption (more here). Adoption is quite different from other substitute care, as it is considered as a form of parenthood.

In the context of this chapter, substitute care is to be understood as a foster care, placement in the care of another person and guardianship.

Foster care

Foster care divides into two types - foster care (long-term) and foster care for a temporary period.

Foster care for a temporary period is a type of so-called professional foster care in situations where a child suddenly finds themself without parental care, and further arrangement of his circumstances has yet to be resolved. The temporary foster carer must be adequately vetted and placed in the register maintained by the regional authority. In no case is he a family member. It is essential that temporary foster care can last for a maximum of 1 year, and the court always decides. Therefore, only foster care (long-term) will be considered in the following.

Foster care can be further divided into facilitated foster care and non-facilitated foster care.

Facilitated foster care means that the person of the foster carer must be adequately vetted and placed on the register maintained by the regional authority. The regional authority then selects suitable foster parents for the child who is without proper care of their parents, i.e., facilitates them.

Non-facilitated foster care, on the other hand, is provided by relatives of the child or close person to the child. This person does not have to be registered with the regional authority and usually has priority over the care of another person who is a stranger to the child. However, even a non-facilitated foster carer must offer guarantees of proper care.

Both types of foster care have some things in common:

  • the court always decides on foster care
  • it should be only a temporary solution for the time when the parent cannot care for the child
  • foster care lasts for a short period of time, for which the parent cannot care for the child, and it ceases at the latest when the child reaches the age of majority
  • the consent of the foster parent is required to place the child in foster care
  • the foster parent is obliged to support the creation and maintenance of bonds between the child and the biological parent
  • the foster parent may only make decisions on the child's ordinary affairs
  • the parents still decide on the child's substantive matters, eventually the foster parent must request a Court decision.

A critical condition for both types of foster care is that the foster parent resides in the Czech Republic.

The foster parent is entitled to foster care benefits, which may be questionable in the case of foster care by relatives (usually grandparents). However, grandparents have a legal duty of maintenance towards the child (grandchild), and it is therefore always necessary to examine whether foster care is in the interests of all concerned and whether it is not sought solely for financial enrichment from the State.

Care of another person

Other people's care and foster care have some similarities and at the same time fundamental differences.

Entrustment to the care of another person comes into play when the parents cannot care for the child. This is, again, the court decides on this care. The person caring for the child must offer guarantees of proper care and agree to entrust the child to their care. The carer's residence in the Czech Republic is the same critical condition as in the case of foster care.

Regarding rights and obligations towards the child, the position is similar to that of a foster carer.

The fundamental difference lies in the financial aspect, as the carer, unlike the foster parent, is not entitled to foster care benefits.


When no parent has and exercises parental responsibility for the child, the court appoints a guardian. It happens when parents are dead, deprived of their parental responsibility, or the child has been found without any further knowledge.

The guardian's lifestyle must ensure that they can perform the function properly.

As a general rule, the guardian should preferably be a person who is related to the child or close to the child or one who the parents indicate if this is not contrary to the child's interests. However, if there is no such person, guardianship shall be exercised by the child welfare authority.

The guardian does not have the same status as the parents. Moreover, they are subject to regular supervision by the court, and the court must approve any decision concerning the child's essential requirements. The guardian may decide on care for the child personally, but they may not. If they care for the child personally, they are entitled to material security, as in the case of a foster parent.