There are 400 children under the ages of 18 that do not live with their natural family because of various social reasons. In most cases the only choice these children face is either to be consigned to a residential home or to a foster family. The National Foster Care Association has launched a campaign to encourage more families to open their homes to these children and youths. On the occasion of International day for the Protection of Children, the Association has launched a campaign including spots on Television Malta to highlight the plight of vulnerable children and to encourage more foster carers to open their homes to help children and youths deprived of the love and care of their natural parents. Association President Paul Gatt said there are families who cannot raise children because of situations of abuse but because these children had no alternatives they had nowhere to go. He said that foster parents could give such children new hope of a decent upbringing. A person who was taken into foster care said it is thanks to foster parents they achieved what they have achieved today as a result of a decent upbringing and the love shown by them than enabled dreams to come true. Presently the Government is working on legislation for the protection of children and the Association appealed for priority to be given that such legislation is really in the interests of such children. The Association is proposing greater stability for these children on the concept of permanent placements which is already operative in Australia, Britain and the United States where legal clauses exist that after a definitive period during which natural parents have not undergone the necessary changes, children can remain in the same placement. A spokesperson for the Ministry for Family and Social Solidarity gave its backing for such a campaign and said more foster parenting should be encouraged in the interests of the children themselves.