Nearly 2,900 children from orphanages are already housed in family centers.

Nearly 2,900 children from orphanages are already housed in family centers.
October 6, 2019 Адриана Гоцова

The Executive Director of the Cedar Foundation Alexandrina Dimitrova in an interview for TV+ about family-type centers

 

Nearly 2,900 children from orphanages are already housed in family centers. This policy is still to be applied to approximately 500 children.

According to the expert in the Agency for Child Protection, Sashka Velkova, there is a real possibility, that by 2021 the state will close all Specialized Institutions for Children.

The main reason for this decision, according to the executive director of the Cedar Foundation Alexandrina Dimitrova, is that a child cannot fully develop in such an environment. According to her, in a home where between 60 and 80 children are being raised, there is no way to pay individual attention to each and every one of them.

Alexandrina Dimitrova, Executive Director of the Cedar Foundation:
“They were part of a group. They were not treated as individuals. This has led to a number of problems, including violence between the children and children and staff. ”

According to Sashka Velkova, the only solution for these children is to move them to family-type accommodation centers. Each center has a manager. The staff consists mainly of educators, there are social workers present, and in some of the centers there are psychologists, as well.

The family type centers in the country are 280. Nevertheless, Alexandrina Dimitrova is of the opinion that not all of them provide the necessary level of care. According to her, the state should invest more in people who can ensure 24-hour care the children need.

Alexandrina Dimitrova, Executive Director of the Cedar Foundation:
“We at the Cedar Foundation manage 8 such centers in 2 cities in Bulgaria. And we have to raise additional BGN 600,000 annually from corporate organizations and like – minded individuals to be able to provide the specialized support that the children need.

One recent study shows that nearly 80% of people accept the process of closure of the large institutions and the provision of alternative care for the children. 40% agree to their child being placed in the same class with a child from a family type center. Only 20 percent are those who would agree to invite a child from such a center into their homes. There is an active awareness campaign about the process of deinstitutionalization.

Alexandrina Dimitrova, Executive Director of the Cedar Foundation:
“People accept the process, but they don’t feel involved in and with it. Our experience shows that there are a lot of people who want to help but don’t know how. “

Sashka Velkova hopes that one day the family type centers will be closed down, as well. According to her, one of the ways to move forward in the process of deinstitutionalization is foster care. She pointed out that in 2010 there were almost 140 specialized institutions, with nearly 7,600 children. As of August this year, the homes are a little over 20, and there are about 550 children in them.