An estimated 3,000 children and young people live in 85 institutions in Greece. Between 2015 - 2020, Lumos supported the Greek government and other partners to develop plans to reform the country's system of care for vulnerable children.
In 2014, media reports featured disturbing cases of children in caged beds in Greek children’s homes. Children removed from their families are usually placed in residential institutions.
These are generally larger than the EU average, and children stay there for prolonged periods. As a result, few children are reunited with their families. There is also a lack of foster care as an alternative to institutionalisation.
Despite the country’s financial difficulties, there are opportunities available to Greece. As an EU state, it can use Structural and Investment Funds to develop community-based services. This will help keep families together.
Lumos in Greece
Lumos did not have a country team directly working in Greece but began working in partnership with local agencies to provide guidance, training and technical support in 2015. Working in partnership with the Greek Institute of Child Health (ICH), our aim was to support the move away from institutions and towards community based services. We also worked to build a coalition of NGOs to support professionals and policy makers in the reform process.
We have conducted a strategic review of child residential care in Greece. This has included staff interviews in different types of institutions – some state and some privately funded. This evidence-base was used for continuous campaigning, influencing and training.
There is now growing support for reform across the government, increased awareness of the harm caused to children by institutionalisation, and increased knowledge on how to transition to community-based care. This is evidenced by a government-led initiative to draft a care reform national strategy and action plan, which will be submitted to the European Commission.
Lumos have now handed over the baton to the Greek Authorities and key international and local organisations to take forward the important mission of completing care reform in Greece.