Strengthening families and tackling child poverty goes hand-in-hand with ending institutional care for children, writes Jana Hainsworth for Euractiv.
As you return to your families to celebrate Christmas, take a few minutes to consider this. Hundreds of thousands of children across Europe are growing up, away from their families, in institutional 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.
The Opening Doors for Europe’s Children progress report reflects on campaign’s achievements towards making a positive difference for hundreds of thousands of children across Europe during Phase I. With larger partnership and extended geography, it describes campaign’s transition into the second phase which is expected to run until the end of 2018.