National Coordinators of the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children gathered in Bucharest, Romania, last week to discuss progress to date and share expertise and experience of the first eight months of the Opening Doors campaign.
We are delighted to already be able to see tangible signs of progress at EU and national level which give us renewed focus and momentum to continue pursuing our ultimate goal of ending institutional care for children in Europe.
At the EU level, the Regulations on the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund recently voted by the European Parliament made explicit references to deinstitutionalisation (DI). Meanwhile, earlier this year, the European Commission’s Recommendation ‘Investing in children – breaking the cycle of disadvantage’ included our call for a halt to any expansion of institutional care and called Member States to use the Structural Funds to support the transition from institutional to community-based care.
Our National Coordinators also report a tangible increase in political will and a strengthened position for DI on the political agenda in their own countries as a result of the campaign. Progress exceeded expectations in several countries, with more and more governments committing to invest in community-based services as an alternative to institutional care for children and over 80 organisations from across Europe joining the campaign and uniting around the singular goal of ending institutional care in Europe.
As well as reviewing progress, this meeting was an opportunity to look ahead to the coming year and discuss how we can continue this progress into 2014 and beyond.