Changing the model of care provision for vulnerable children from an institutional care model to a community model is the aim of a series of seminars organised by FEDAIA, the Federation of Care and Education Institutions for Children and Adolescents in Catalonia, Spain. Three seminars and a technical meeting under the title “Cycle Tribuna FEDAIA 2017” will be held during 2017 where different points related to the central axis of this change of care model will be explored in relation to children and families at risk of social exclusion.
On 31 January 2017, Opening Doors for Europe’s Children National Coordinator in Greece, Roots Research Centre, organised a seminar for professionals working with children in care at Heraklion Crete. Four-hour training “Relationship and communication with adopted and foster children” for professionals from eight residential units in Crete, including psychologists, social workers and educators, was facilitated by Tatiana Gorny, graduate in psychology and education of children with autism from the Roots Research Centre and Marilou Chatziskouli, social anthropology graduate, mental health counsellor and scientific adviser to the organisation on alternative care.
At the beginning of November 2016, the new amendments in the Regulation for Implementation of Social Assistance Act were enacted. According to them, the name and the profile of the existing Family Type Placement Centers for children and youth with disabilities were changed. Following these amendments that differentiate the existing family-type placement centres for children and young people with disabilities to such being only for children and separately for adolescents, the Agency for Social Assistance has issued a letter to all Child Protection Departments in Bulgaria asking to prepare children and young people with disabilities for move due to the change of the service profiles by April 2017. If acted upon, this normative change will require moving children from alternative care placements in a way that runs counter to their best interests.
The Opening Doors campaign works to build the capacity of civil society organisations and ensure their involvement in legislative, policy and public spending decisions. Civil society are closest to the children and young people involved and have a better understanding of how policies impact children directly. They can also ensure that children and young people themselves are involved in decisions taken about their lives.