1 December 2016 marks the official start of Phase II of the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children, a pan-European campaign to support national efforts to develop child protection systems that strengthen families and ensure high-quality family and community-based alternative care for children, by leveraging EU funding and policy and building capacity in civil society.
In its second phase, the campaign brings on board new national and international partners to add further gravitas to its work on deinstitutionalisation in Europe. Eurochild and Hope and Homes for Children are joined by SOS Children’s Villages International, the International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO), and the European branch of the International Federation of Educative Communities (FICE Europe) as leading international partners. The campaign is also expanding geographically, bringing the number of countries from 12 to 15, including Spain, Belgium and Austria.
Working with a network of national partners in each participating country, we build partnerships to advocate for policies and public investment that strengthen families and support the transition from institutional to family- and community-based care. The campaign builds the capacity of civil society to leverage existing EU policy recommendations and coordination tools, as well as EU funding programmes to put support progress at national level.
In the context of the current refugee and migrant crisis, Opening Doors for Europe’s Children also calls for alternatives to detention and institutional care for migrant, unaccompanied and separated children.
Opening Doors campaign was also presented during a round table in the European Parliament focused on the European Structural Funds.
Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of the European network Eurochild, raised the topic about the need of an integrated approach in EU policies and better coordination and addressing of issues related to deinstitutionalization, combating poverty, housing, integration of Roma and vulnerable groups, education, etc.
Dani Koleva from the National Network for Children took part in the second session of the event and shared the experience of Bulgaria. Highlights presented by her, were related to:
- Need to change the focus of investments – from buildings and centers construction to support for parents and families.
- Urgent need to increase the capacity of the protection systems and social workers
- Inclusion of NGOs in the whole cycle of programming, implementation and monitoring
- Changing the paradigm of viewing and measuring the success of the Structural Funds to quality management and implementation