Execution period: March 2017 – March 2018
Financial source: Velux Foundations
Role of the organization: subcontractor – a project by the National Network for Children in partnership with the Municipality of Ruse
- To develop and apply models of services for children in conflict with the law;
- To contribute fora change of the attitude of the society towards children in conflict with the law;
- To support the development of a regional working model of the National Network for Children and its members;
Objectives: The CCR provides social services in the community for children and their families. The main things the team will work on will be prevention of criminal behaviour and support for children and their parents in order to respect their rights. The services at the CCR are innovative and community-basedy and are connected with all social, educational, health and all other services provided in the Municipality.
Results: EQ participation stared on 1st March, 2017 and after the official opening on the 30th May the new social service began its direct work with clients. Currently, the team is working on 11 cases which were referred to us by different institutions from Ruse and Byala.
The children are assigned to different activities that the centre provides according to their interests. The psychologist and the social worker conduct individual consultations with the children and their parents on the basis of an appointment schedule.
The services are voluntary: for self-assigned clients as well as for those who were referred by from different institutions.
The main services that the Center will provide according to the needs of the groups
- To prevent specific cases – “Support to children from vulnerable families and with challenging behavior as well as preventing high risk behavior in conflict with the law”
Work group and criteria:
Troubled children and families
- Children with a single parent;
- Children with parents with numerous children;
- Children with parents without jobs or from families with economic difficulties;
- Children with parents with psychological disorders;
- Children with parents with other disorders;
- Children with parents with alcohol problems or addictons;
- Children deprived of parental care;
- Children not attending school etc.
Children who are growing up with with emotional and behavior difficulties or in a conflict situations will also be taken care of as well as children with troubles in their families, social environment or at school.
Every child in a certain point of their development, demonstrate difficult behavior or have negative emotions which they cannot deal with. With some children these difficulties become harder with time and can potentially jeopardise their future. In some cases, these difficulties can be dangerous for their health and for the safety of the people around them. We refer to these children, children with emotional and behavior difficulties or children with challenging behavior.
Purpose: To overcome the risks that lead to neglect, inappropriate care, and the risk of unlawful acts in children under the age of 14, and enhancing parenting skills to improve the care of children in the family.
- Provision of information and individual consultation for children at risk of committing a crime. Directing the children and their parents to other psychological social services as well as health and educational support;
- Active family support – monitoring the child’s domestic and social environment: the grown-ups that take care of him, his family and the community. The interventions are planned so that whole family environment will be bettered: living conditions, health, education, family and social relationships, behavior, work, economic household. The model involves material and logistical support (specific for the needs of the family, in short terms and strategic). There also will be specialized help (informing, consulting, practical support in order for certain goals to be achieved, improving the knowledge of positive parenting). The active family support helps the family to help itself. It provides a short-term help, but intense one in order for the families to become active and to strengthen themselves. This will prevent the future problems of their children. By this method the families will be able to prevent their children from participating in crime and be institutionalized; instead they will grow up in a safe and supportive environment and be able to develop themselves as individuals. The family is also supported within the community. The main idea is to mobilize the social network around the family in order for the community to become a resource. The family receives support to financial and social benefits as well as healthcare and education in order to restore and develop its own network of support in its community.
- Family-group conferences.
- Higher self-esteem – development of talents by joining groups in music, art, fitness, learning eastern martial arts for decreasing the children`s aggression, travel, extreme sports and adventure camps.
- Support for positive friendships and emotions at school.
- Working with the parents in order for them to realize how to treat the development of their children. Studying the positive parenthood.
- Intervention and help in the coordination of institutions so they work on a community basis.
- Work towards adjusting negative social attitudes towards the children in conflict with the law.
- Intervention – specialized service for children who had problems with the law – “Support for children who are in a conflict with the law and children under the minimum age in order for them to have awareness of the risks and to prevent such cases in the future by joining social causes”
Children in conflict with the law
- Children between 14 and 18 who`ve committed illegal acts defined by The Criminal Code or the Criminal Proceedings Act and imposing educational measures on minors such as:
– Children conditionally convicted
– Children convicted and on probation
– Children who were staying at institutions or in the process of leaving such
– Children who were imprisoned or leaving correctional care
– Children with measures imposed by the municipal commission for anti-social behaviour, underage children or children registered in the educational context
– Children listed in the children`s pedagogical rooms at the police departments on the basis of their misdemeanors
– Children under the minimal age for bearing criminal responsibility
Purpose: To supplement institutional and judicial measures with work directed towards the socialization and rehabilitation of children / young adults. Work directed towards minimization of the negative impact of punitive measures and reduction of the risk of re-offending.
- To support children`s rights by supporting them within the institutional system by informing young offenders and their families of their rights and explaining procedures (their significance, consequences and support measures)
- To work within a network of services / institutions in a manner that improves the treatment of cases of young adults seen to be a danger to the public; To design and implement professional training and support coordination measures among those responsible for such cases.
- Coordinating the holistic assessment of high-risk, young offenders at different stages of the judicial process in a way that maximizes the protection and guidance of the young offender. In addition, coordination of the process of social rehabilitation focused on personal development, building resilience, building the motivation to learn and planning the future. This process involves meticulous assessment of the young offender’s environment, the identification of strengths and risk factors, the risk of re-offending and assessment of the extent to which the young person is a danger to himself or to others.
- Coordination of the process of preparing an individual plan for work with the child and the family.
- Advocacy for the measured application of juvenile justice – This places emphasis on observing and respecting the rights of the child at all stages within the judicial process. This extends to protection and custodial measures and the selection of residential facilities.
- Preparing and accompanying a child to participate in legal proceedings – aims to provide child-friendly justice; Support for the introduction of a friendly hearing procedure for children involved in legal proceedings under Directive 2012/29 on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused of criminal activities;
- Providing legal support (information and consultation) – This protects the child`s rights as well as clarifying the consequences of continuing behavior that brings the child in conflict with the law;
- To negotiate and work proactively with other social and child-protection services – To be able to create a comprehensive individual plan for each child, which will provide protection, psychological and social rehabilitation, safe and secure participation in state procedures, implementation of measures and penalties and professional guidance;
- Intensive mentoring, legal and psychosocial accompaniment of a child, socially motivated attendance, mentoring and a team around the case, depending on the needs of each individual;
- Implementation of restorative justice;
- When it is appropriate – mediation between the young perpetrator of the crime and the victim;
- Encouraging the young offender to engage in specialized programs – community service, social skills, thinking skills and self-development.
- Providing / restoring the connection between the child and an adult mentor;
- Conducting family-group conferences and other actions that develop strengths within the family;
- Higher self-esteem – development of personal talents and interests by joining groups in music, art, fitness, learning eastern martial arts for decreasing the children`s aggression, traveling, extreme sports and adventure camps.
- Therapeutic activities – A comprehensive and cohesive approach using cognitive therapy to (1) build resilience (2) help develop a growth mindset and reduce pessimism (3) improve self-regulation and reduce emotional volatility (4) improve self-awareness and consciousness of the impact of speech and behaviours on other people;
- At a more advanced stage of the therapeutic work, support for positive experiences at school (so as not to prejudice the self-esteem of the young person), focusing on educational courses; professional orientation; Improving employment opportunities and developing job-seeking skills;
- Counseling and training of professionals working with children in contact with and conflict with the law and those with high-risk behavior;
- Organizing and conducting conferences about a certain case;
- Creating a common “toolbox” for assessing the needs of the young person, family resources and the environment and the risk of future illegal activities;
- Bulgarian legislation allows for departure from criminal proceedings for young adults and remedial measures for minors – This project helps develop a holistic approach to the assessment of children seen as being at “high risk” and provides a wide-ranging approach to psychological and social rehabilitation;
- Active family support;
- Developing and delivering programs for increasing information for families and helping parents whose children are at risk of offending;
- Legal information and counseling of parents – aims to ensure the rights of the child, as well as to create clarity about the future consequences of continuing behavior in conflict with the law;
- Organizing and conducting of family-group conferences;
- Therapeutic work with parents – attachment styles, appropriate responses to challenging behaviour, difficulties arising in adolescence and positive parenting of teenagers.
- Showing and working in a network with other professionals – “Support for overcoming the effects of violence on specific children and work on prevention of violence”
Target group and criteria:
Children who are victims of violence or victims of crime: Children who are victims of violence, verbal aggression, vandalism, self-harm, psychological harassment, cyber bullying and child victims of crime.
Children who are in contact with the law – Children involved in legal proceedings in civil cases in parental conflicts. Currently, these children are referred to the Ruse complex where the team is building experience in working with children who are rejected by their parents. The CCR will give the Centre training and legal counseling on child participation in legal proceedings.
To coordinate, advise and support; dealing with the impact of violence directed at children and working towards prevention of violence.
- Supporting emergency action to provide psychological support and victim security – providing access to a psychologist;
- Actions in support of victims of a crime: informing about their rights, trauma counseling, professional supporters / escorts etc
Terms of using the service:
CCR`s services are also provided to children / young people and / or families seeking support in the CCR on their own initiative.
The CCR can work at the request by the Social Assistance Directorate, filed through the use of social services on the basis of a paragraph of the law. In cases where the parents, custodians or guardians cannot reach contact or there is no stated desire, the use of social services in the CCR shall be based on an administrative order according to the procedure of a paragraph of the law.
An application to join the CCR to work on a case may also be filed by other competent authorities, including educational institutions, Police, Regional Probation Service and others with which the provider is partnering.
Place of the Social Service:
The service is provided by Equilibrium, a licensed social services provider, on the second floor of the Social Services Complex at address: Ruse, 14 Lipnik Blvd.
Material and technical base and resources
At the disposal of the service there are five rooms, which are distributed and equipped as follows:
- A room for group activities – trainings, meetings, family conferences
- A room for individual work
- A room for music and art-therapy
- Fitness centre
- Specialist`s office
The children and young adults from the service can use the gymnasium and the courtyard of the Social Services Complex, which have sports facilities and outdoor space.