Petra Vrtbovska Winnette
This profile was prepared when Petra Vrtbovska Winnette was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
At the Natama Institute in Prague, Petra has developed a model of specialized support for key players in the foster care field. This model is uniquely characterized by its all-inclusive approach, in which Petra brings all key players, including children, parents and foster care professionals, together to be trained and counseled. As a result, foster care services are more unified and able to work together in a holistic fashion. Petra’s pioneering model combines therapy for at-risk children, continuing education for adoptive parents and foster care professionals, and research and dissemination of methodologies in the foster care field. For children, she focuses on therapeutic support, particularly for abandoned kids with serious social and emotional disorders. For parents, Petra provides support and information to deal with challenges they encounter once their adopted/foster child has arrived. Lastly, she builds capacity of foster care professionals by training them to incorporate best practices into their work in the field. Through her work, Petra has brought foster children’s emotional disorders public recognition. Throughout the Czech Republic and internationally, she is raising awareness in the field as well as through media publications, television programs, conferences and workshops. In 2009, Petra’s model of foster care was recognized and recommended by the state to regional centers across the country.