From institutions to community: Spain reflects on the model of care for children


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.

In alliance with FICE Spain, International Federation of Educational Communities, who together with FEDAIA in 2016 have joined the second phase of the “Opening Doors for Europe’s children” campaign, it is organisers’ hope that initiated reflections could contribute towards common lines and conceptual framework to improve the quality of life of children and young people at risk of entering or leaving institutional care.

With the first two seminars taking place on 17 January and 14 February 2017, “Cycle Tribuna FEDAIA 2017” brought together child rights and child protection experts at regional, national and European level and public administration. Participants have reflected on the evolution of the system of child care and child protection in Catalonia, Spain and Europe in the last 20 years and how the process of transformations can be leveraged by changing the model of care provision from an institutional care model to a community model. Discussions were focused on the integration of community-based social services and development of the child-centred system of protection. The aim of the second seminar was to get a firsthand look at the common guidelines in Europe on the transition from a residential to a community models of care.

“Showing positive practices developed in Europe, we hope to work with the public administration in this process and introduce in the social entities in this moment of change in which we want to walk together. It is not a matter of flagging any crusade or imposing any alteration, only initiating in our house a debate and a reflection that are already taking place at the end of other countries and which must also be initiated in ours. That is why we must remember to take a tour of our history, to know the European frame of reference in this field and to know the process carried out in other countries, as well as experiences from which to extract expertise both from Europe and from the entities in our Home that are already working on this new look at the attention to children at risk,” says David Ruiz,  Vice President of FEDAIA.

According to Katerina Nanou, Opening Doors for Europe’s Children Campaign Coordinator “Spain joined the Opening Doors at a time when European Structural Funds have already been allocated for its current cycle, although there is a commitment from the state to use these funds for deinstitutionalisation. EU funds in Spain have the potential to support the reforms towards improving the lives of many children living in institutional care in Spain and the development of quality support services to family at the community level.

Emmanuel Sherwin, Hope and Homes for Children Policy and Advocacy Officer and the member of campaign’s core team adds: “When it comes to the use of EU funds, Spain is very complicated because it is made up of 17 autonomous communities, making it harder to advocate for the use of the funds and particularly in their monitoring. It was very exciting to be part of the seminar with experts and professionals from all levels of the alternative care spectrum across Catalonia. We have identified many advocacy opportunities and there is a strong wish to link the national work to that of the EU desk officers, particularly in the development of the next round of EU funding.”

  • To find out more about recent developments towards deinstitutionalisation in Spain, read our 2016 country fact sheet
  • Read the programme of “Cycle Tribuna FEDAIA 2017” seminar 1 (17 January 2017) and seminar 2 (14 February 2017)
  • See more on “Cycle Tribuna FEDAIA 2017” events (in Catalan)