Setting up a model for the closure of institutions for babies’ is a joint venture of Equilibrium and Hope and Homes for Children, UK (experts in de-institutionalization in Central and Eastern Europe and Africa).
Bulgaria has reduced the number of children in residential care but the total number of children without permanent parents has not changed much in recent years. Institutions for children under the age of five remain under the management and administration of the Ministry of Health. The availability of institutional care for children under five in addition to the lack of prevention and professional family support services represent a significant risk to national deinstitutionalisation plans. Baby homes represent one of the main entry points to the childcare system and can lead to long years of institutionalisation and increased developmental delays.
The project targets the closure of the institution for children under the age of 3, in Teteven and all children resident in the institution will be placed in family care based on their needs and with respect to their rights. Work will lead to the development of emergency placement services for children unable remain at home; the development of family support services preventing children to be separated from parents and families. The project will develop an implementation model for the closure of institutions for children under the age of 3.
- Preliminary situational analysis
- Gearing up: induction / detailed situational analysis / team consolidation / creation of communication and reporting routine: Teteven-Ruse-UK-Donor(s) / recruitment of social workers /
- Assessment: individual assessments of children and families / statement of needs / devise alternative care strategy
- Gate-keeping: work targeted at maternity hospitals that send children to Teteven Baby Home to stem the flow of infants into the system – step up in family support / prevention services (requisite technical support / training)
- Implementation of alternative care strategy for infants in home: (1) Putting in place effective family support measures to promote reintegration with biological parents / extended families (requisite technical support / training). (2) Establishing a foster care programme (training / technical support) (3) Establishing adoption as a last resort
- Development of Centre of Social Support (CSS): On the basis of a comprehensive needs analysis, establishing the operational basis of the new CSS
- Staffing & equipping the CSS. Setting the staffing regime, retraining baby home personnel, recruitment, establishing working relations with other child/family welfare and medical departments. Make recommendations regarding layout / equipping of new facility
- Consolidation of gate keeping measures. Ensure the local capacity for preventing the flow of babies / toddlers into the care system / Strengthen family support measures & community-based care.
- Apply for state delegated budget for 2011
- Formally close the institution
- The newly developed services operate at full capacity from January 2011
We estimate the project can be implemented over a period of 26 months.