It is not by chance that Equilibrium chose this certain day for the consecration of new services which we have been managing since the beginning of 2016. The reason for the ceremony was the two small-group homes of the actual names “Love” and “Hope”, where 23 children and young adults with disabilities have been taken care of since April, 2015.
In 2016, Equilibrium took the responsibility of dealing with highly complicated cases in the innovative, integrated services, which were opened under a project of Ruse Municipality in the closed Home for Medical and Social Care for Children. Our organisation chose a bright and warm name for the three services we manage – Integrated Children’s Services “Sunshine (Slancho)”. These are three services that offer children alternative social and medical care and provide their parents with specialized support and assistance.
The Centre for Family-Type Accommodation for Children with Disabilities in Need of Constant Medical Care was opened under the national project “DIRECTION: Family” run by the Ministry of Health. Eight homes for medical and social care for children from 0 to 3 years throughout the country (including Ruse) were restructured into new integrated health and social services. The centre offers highly qualified socio-medical care for 8 babies. At the moment it houses 7 infants, whose parents are supported so that the children get the vital emotional warmth and connection with their relatives. A medical team is available 24 hours – a pediatrician and nurses, carers, a physiotherapist, a social worker and a psychologist.
On the same floor is situated the Baby Unit with a capacity of 4 mothers and their newborn babies. The Baby Unit is designed to give shelter but also to train young, inexperienced mothers who have difficulties taking care of their babies and miss the supportive environment at home. The fact that both services are situated on the same floor gives the opportunity for better care for mothers and babies in the centre.
The Day Centre for Children with Disabilities (0 – 18) is situated on the first floor of the building. Kids with disabilities and / or chronic diseases are redirected there by the Child Protection Department when they lack access to other alternative services in town. The Day Centre has capacity for 20 children, but there is the possibility for taking more cases in order to respond to the needs of the young ones and their parents. The Day Centre has at its disposal various specialists with a strong expertise – a speech therapist, a physiotherapist, a psychologist, an occupational therapist, educators, and nurses. The pediatrician from the Centre for Children with Disabilities in Need of Constant Medical Care is at the disposal of the children and parents, using the services of the Day Centre.
Equilibrium cooperates with external nutrition and feeding consultants from Karin Dom Foundation, who provide know how and help the team with their work. We maintain contract with a children’s surgeon, who, if needed, consults on the specific cases. The main partner of the organisation is Ruse District Hospital. According to the new procedure of the Ministry of Health, the Hospital not only supports the care for the children, but they also have a key role in the transportation of the kids and their access to hospitals for diagnostics, interventions, and treatment. The cooperation of the organisation with the clinic of prof. Atanasov in Plovdiv, where they work on cases of children with face malformation, is excellent. The collaboration with the Patients’ Association ALA – Plovdiv enables the parents to be trained on the specific feeding of their newborns, and gives children and parents the chance to return home as soon as possible.
Integrated Children’s Services “Sunshine”, with its flexible and integrated management by Equilibrium and a focus on the needs of children and their parents, prove as a model that institutions for children are devastating for the kids and they are not necessary if we invest in the right services, which help families raise their children at home with the support needed.
The religious festival of St. Sofia and her daughters Faith, Hope and Love was chosen for the consecration of the services because of its symbolism. We hope that we will create a new future for the children in Ruse with the help of the experienced specialists and the spirit and power of these words – wisdom, faith, hope, and love.
Official guests of the ceremony were representatives of the Social and Health Department of Ruse Municipality, who congratulated us on behalf of the mayor of Ruse – Mr. Plamen Stoilov. He, as always, used warm words to describe the devotion of the EQ team and wished health to all who benefit from the new services. Icons, made by the Treta Vyzrast organisation for the occasion, were blessed, and they will guard the children and young adults, who use EQ’s services.