This profile was prepared when Pawel Urbanowicz was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Pawel is launching a national program to train, evaluate, and certify foster families to ensure that they are capable of providing quality care to children. In exchange for volunteering for the program, the families become members of regional support groups that provide training and mutual support. Certified families are also eligible for assistance from the association's "house bank", which provides them with refurbished homes that are more appropriate for larger foster families.The house bank acquires and restores abandoned houses. Certified families exchange their small apartments for one of these houses, which are better suited for raising children than these cramped dwellings. The small apartments are then rented out by the association to fund further refurbishment projects and the administrative costs of the program.