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Implementation period: January 2010 – December 2011

Source of funding: TBACT – UK via Hope and Homes for Children – UK (HHC)

Role of the organization, leading, in partnership with the Municipality of Teteven and working on the basis of formal memoranda of agreement with the relevant ministries


Transformative action starts when someone takes the first step. As HHC and EQ took the practical initiative of closing a baby home, the Bulgarian government publicly committed itself to the implementation of an Action Plan linked to a national “Vision for Deinstitutionalising the Children in the Republic of Bulgaria”. The Action Plan was formally adopted in November, 2010 – a month before the formal declaration of the closure of the Teteven baby home.


To close the Teteven baby home and establish viable alternative services in the community


  • Secure memoranda of agreement with appropriate ministries and local government
  • Establish working relationships with child protection departments and directorates of social assistance in the municipality and adjacent municipalities
  • Create a moratorium in the district preventing further institutionalization of infants and establish solid methods for preventing abandonment of infants
  • Undertake rigorous assessments of young residents of the baby home and their families
  • Create a small, cohesive and fast-acting team led including local actors
  • Undertake the phased deinstiutionalisation of 32 infants and renovation of facility to create a new centre of social support
  • Supervise / manage early actions of new services and monitor placements of children


  • Successful deinstitutionalization of 32 infants on the basis of the best interests of each child
  • Official closure of baby home (December, 2010)
  • Creation of centre of social services that involves rehabilitation of  staff from residential institution in so far as this was practicable
  • Creation of coordinated community-based support for children at risk and their families


Many of the actions undertaken during the course of this project were unprecedented in Bulgaria and involved proactive engagement with government to provide solutions quickly and efficiently. The Teteven closure provided practical lessons that were carried over into the national DI programme.

The experience is summarized in the booklet and film “Transforming Lives”