Reform of child care and protection systems in Bulgaria has taken an important step forward with the start of assessments of more than 1000 children with disabilities who have moved from institutions into new small group homes.
The assessment programme will measure the success of a major element of the deinstitutionalisation process undertaken by the Bulgarian Government. Lumos has provided consultants to support the assessment process.
Since 2012, more than 1,000 children have been moved from 25 large institutions to over 160 Small Group Homes (SGHs), which can provide specialist care.
The objective of the assessments, which will be conducted over the next two months, is to capture changes in the children’s physical, intellectual and emotional state, as well as their relationships with parents, the outside world and other services, such as schools and kindergartens. The results will be compared with assessments of the children two years ago, when most of them were still in institutions.
Teams of experts from the Child Protection Units of the Bulgarian Agency for Social Assistance, with consultants hired by Lumos, will assess children under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the State Agency for Child Protection, the Agency for Social Assistance and the National Association of Municipalities.
The assessments will offer a national picture of the results achieved for some of Bulgaria’s most vulnerable children in the process of deinstitutionalisation (DI), which began five years ago under a national strategy. The data will be used to set priorities and to plan the next steps of the DI process.