Opening Doors coordinator Hope and Homes for Children in Bosnia & Herzegovina (HHC BiH) partners with government to create Standards for Small Family Homes and a Programme of Support to Young People Leaving Care. These documents are expected to be integrated in the new Law on Social Services of the Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
HHC BiH’s work with the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina has led to the acceptance of two new by-laws focussing on improving services for children without parental care. These proposals are expected to becoming law in the coming months and, for the first time, will create legal standards for the services provided to children without parental care and give support to young people leaving public care.
HHC BiH coordinated the work of two expert groups that drafted the Minimal standards for Small Family Homes and the Programme of Support to Young People Leaving Care. The expert groups were composed of representatives of the Federal Ministry, relevant cantonal ministries of social protection, centres for social work, institutions for children without parental care, NGOs, and HHC BiH.
The drafted standards were piloted in selected institutional care facilities, centres for social work, and foster families. Following to that, 5 regional consultations and 1 national consultation meeting with child protection professionals provided vital feedback and suggestions for improving the documents. Finally, in May 2015, a set of five regional training sessions for practical implementation of standards were held and saw the attendance of about 100 professionals from across the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The programme was supported by a grant from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.
It is expected the standards will be made official in the form of amendments attached to the new FBiH Law on Social Services, currently in development, with HHC BiH actively engaged in the drafting process. By ensure existing services are better monitored and by developing new support towards young people leaving care, the new law will dramatically improve the conditions of institutionalised children and deliver the preconditions that are essential for deinstitutionalisation to take place.