Hundreds of thousands of children across Europe are growing up in institutional care. The consequences are devastating for children and families and deliver a heavy cost to society in the long term. Poverty, disability and discrimination are often the underlying cause of children being separated from their parents. Strengthening families and communities – so that they can look after their own children – must be a first priority.
As a pan-European campaign, we advocate for a broad range of quality alternative care options that avoid harmful effects of institutionalisation for children and provide a protective environment that would enable their normal living within the communities. We achieve this by promoting the transition from institutional to the family- and community-based care, also known as deinstitutionalisation (DI).
We asked 16 national coordinators and 5 international partners of the campaign: what can Europe do to keep children out of harmful institutions and to ensure that they grow up where they belong: in their families and communities? Find out their answers from this video.
As Estonia takes upon the presidency of the council of the European Union on 1 July 2017, children and young people with alternative care experience develop a manifesto where they call on Estonian government to prioritise child care system reform more explicitly. In a “Children and Young People Manifesto on Child Protection in Estonia”, children and young people urge Estonian government to take concrete steps towards the delivery of a child protection reform that ensure best interests and needs of each child.
The Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign calls on the EU to reinforce its support for national reforms of the child protection systems, in particular, to promote appropriate allocation and spending of EU funds for deinstitutionalisation reforms and to improve existing regulations, such as the ex-ante conditionality on the transition from institutional to community-based care and implementation of the European Code of Conduct on Partnership.
The latest compilation of data from 15 European countries that are the focus of Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign in Phase II provides succinct and recent information on the most significant developments towards reforms on DI and the systems of child protection in 2016. In addition to the recent statistics, in Phase II country fact files include information on what EU funding is available or has been used in each country. They are updated by the National Coordinators on an annual basis and are primarily sourced from the official state sources.
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.
Find below a compilation of evidence (as of June 2015) from 11 European countries which participated in the first phase of the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign. It provides an overview of the characteristics and the functioning of the child protection system in each individual country and gives an update on the recent developments towards reforms on DI across Europe. Evidence has been compiled by the Opening Doors National Coordinators and was primarily sourced from the official state sources.