Support by OPZ Geel

Boarders and foster families are supported by the foster family care team of the OPZ Geel. This team is made up of psychiatrists, a psychologist, general practitioners, a team coordinator, nurses and a social worker. While the foster family focuses on the issues of everyday life, the team is responsible for everything related to treatment. The focus is on recovery, maintaining and promoting stability, crisis prevention …

View of foster family and boarder sitting at the table

Care can cover all domains of life. Each boarder has a personal counsellor who follows their trajectory throughout their stay in foster care. The frequency of home visits can range from daily in case of a crisis situation to monthly in case of a stable situation. In multidisciplinary meetings crisis situations are discussed so that the whole team is aware of what is going on in a specific family and with a specific boarder. At these moments the care can be given by all the team members and not just the personal counsellor.


OPZ Geel is operational 24/7 so that the foster family and the boarder can always reach someone in case of an emergency. The foster care programme guarantees to the foster families to take over the care whenever needed for whatever reason. This guarantee is an essential element of the programme. The families and boarders are never left on their own.


For the older population these emergencies are very often related to physical problems. For the younger population other emergencies are seen: psychotic episodes, depression, conflict with the foster family, … In case of emergencies we off course try to avoid an admission and look for other types of support. In general, about 15% of the population is at least annually in hospital. Usually these stays are short (ranging from a week to some months), sometimes however, they are longer. Interventions in which help of the police is needed are close to non-existent.
If families need a carefree period we offer respite care.


A good match means everything. When a place becomes vacant in a new or existing foster family, we look at the type of care a boarder needs and look for a match with the type of care the family offers.
If a match is found between a boarder and a family, the possible placement is prepared step by step. This proceeds according to everyone’s wishes and pace: a meeting, an overnight stay, a weekend, …
Typical for these first meetings is that families are interested in the foster guests’ abilities and strengths. They rarely ask about limitations or diagnoses.
At all times, any person concerned can choose to stop the foster care situation. In the majority of cases, the foster care situation ends because of old age or illness of the foster family or boarder.


Sometimes there is no longer a match between foster family and foster guest for instance because of a changed family situation or a change in the recovery process; and as a result, the existing foster care arrangement is ended. In some cases, we as a team make the decision to stop an arrangement when it would be too difficult for the foster family and boarder because emotional involvement gets in the way of them making that decision themselves.

Day programmes

The day programmes of the boarders are individually shaped. Some of the boarders find a rewarding (occupying) day activity in the family or the neighbourhood. A majority of the boarders come to activity centres organised by OPZ Geel. We have a number of day centres where people take part in activities such as cooking, handicrafts, current affairs, … We have tailor-made workshops such as a workshop where bicycles are repaired and sold, a workshop where small industrial tasks are carried out and a court team. External daytime activities can also be considered. In shaping the week programme of boarders, their abilities and interests are decisive.