Spain advocates for a change of the care model for children


FEDAIA (the Federation of Care and Education Institutions for Children and Adolescents) – Opening Doors national partner in Spain – calls to move towards a community-based model of care for children and young people. This and other aspects of the new paradigm have been discussed at the last in a series of four seminars that was held on 17 May 2017 in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. 

Four meetings under the title “Cycle Tribuna FEDAIA 2017”, which began in January 2017, addressed the evolution of the model of care for children in Catalonia, Spain and Europe and drew attention to the need to move from institutional to community-based model of care for children, where through prevention and more effective efforts in child protection, the number of children living in residential institutions can be reduced.

The President of the FEDAIA Conxi Martínez recalled that the best environment for a child is his/her own family, and in cases where a child cannot be looked after by the parents, we must ensure that the family-like care alternatives for children are embedded in their communities. “We must ensure that more children can go to foster families, but also that communities involved in the guardianship play an important role in this process. The educators have to work directly with families: timely prevention and support could stop many children entering institutional care. We must work so that every child has enough resources that meet his/her direct needs,” stressed Conxi Martínez.

Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild and the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children Campaign’s leader shared European perspective of a changing paradigm for children and families at risk. “It is not always easy to prioritise social issues such as child care and child protection in the European political agenda,” she said. “None the less, many national governments have managed to achieve significant progress towards deinstitutionalisation over the past decade. Important changes in EU policy and the regulations that govern how EU funds are spent had been also achieved. These developments must be now converted into changes on the ground so that the lives of hundreds of thousands of children growing up in institutional care in Europe can be improved,” she concluded.

David Astiz, president of FICE Spain, Opening Doors National Coordinator in Spain, also emphasised the need to invest in child protection policies. “To see the change in a model of care for children, we must evolve and respond to society’s changing needs. To make this transition, we must ensure a range of high-quality community services are in place, both in terms of prevention, intervention and support. We must train professionals who can make this community work and ensure efficient monitoring and evaluation,” Mr Astiz concluded.