The first steps of the Expert working group on deinstitutionalization will be the preparation of a detailed analysis of the needs of the family-type homes across the country as well as identification of the necessary steps towards improvement of the living conditions. This decision came as a result of the first meeting of the working group, held on March 14.
The working group includes expert representatives of the state authorities and the nongovernmental sector. Among the participants in the first meeting were Rositsa Dimitrova, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy, experts from the State Agency for Child Protection, representatives of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Agency for Social Assistance, the National Association of the Municipalities in Bulgaria, as well as representatives of the NGO sector and UNICEF.
The Expert Working Group is co-chaired by Alexandrina Dimitrova, Executive Director of The Cedar Foundation, and Dr. Eleonora Lilova, Chairperson of the State Agency for Child Protection.
“It is imperative that the children who live in family-type homes are integrated into society and provided with normal living conditions”, said Alexandrina Dimitrova. “Given our long-lasting experience in the management of residential social services, we at The Cedar Foundation are ready to actively participate in this process. We are the non-governmental organization that provides care and support for the largest number of children and youth with disabilities who live in family-type homes.”
Other representatives agreed that the aim of the working group would be to provide the 3500 children and youth who live in the 283 family-type homes across the country with better living conditions and opportunities for social inclusion.