The Human Rights Ombudsman and the European Expert Group (EEG) organized a national seminar on deinstitutionalisation today (14 February 2014) in Warsaw. In his video address Commissioner László Andor highlighted the unprecedented opportunity for Poland to transform its care services, moving from institutional to community-based care. A total of 12 billion euros is available to support employment and social inclusion through the European Structural Fund (ESF), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has even more resources.
From the children’s sector perspective the Minister for Labour and Social Affairs Ms Elżbieta Seredyn, referred to the adoption of the Family Support Act as a major breakthrough saying that 16,000 fewer children have entered public care in the last year.
Children’s NGOs queried this figure however, stating that this is the result of re-categorisation and does not reflect the real impact of the law on the ground. “The deinstitutionalisation process for children is far from being complete” said Tomas Polkowski from Towarzystwo Nasz Dom Home Association and national coordinator of the Opening Doors campaign “we estimate there are 68,000 children still in institutions, the highest number of any EU member state”.
Children’s NGOs are calling for a clear follow up and a national strategy to support implementation of Family Support Act at all levels of government. Find out more here.