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Europe and Central Asia have by far the highest percentage of children separated from their families worldwide: At present 666 per 100,000 children live in residential care in these two global regions. This is more than five times higher than the average of 120 children per 100,000.
With support of the EU, some countries have been successful in considerably decreasing the number of institutionalised children in the last decade. But there remains a lot do be done. A new report published by UNICEF calls for EU policymakers to help in the transition from institutional to community-based care through the next strategy for the European funds.
The report was written with input from civil society, including the European Expert Group on Transition from Institutional to Community Based Care (EEG), of which Inclusion Europe is a member.
Some of the main points raised in the report include:
- At present, countries that receive funds from the EU are not allowed to use them to build or maintain institutions. Instead, the money must be used towards deinstitutionalisation. The EU is currently preparing their financial planning post-2021, and it should keep this condition to support deinstitutionalisation of all children in Europe and beyond
- EU policymakers have recognised that families need assistance and that there must be options for care outside of institutions. But not all EU member states consider the transition to family- and community-based to be a priority, and it is not reflected in all EU policies. In the financial planning post-2021, inclusive care should be mainstreamed into all relevant policy areas, within the EU and outside
- The next financial planning should provide money for e.g. initiatives working towards deinstitutionalisation and supporting families, for inclusive education and inclusive health and social services; as well as for quality alternative care
As a member of the EEG, Inclusion Europe agrees with all points made in the UNICEF report. The European Union has a unique chance to continue promoting deinstitutionalisation in Europe and outside. Policymakers should make use of this opportunity and help make a life outside of institutions a reality for all children.
Click on a word which is in bold to read what it means.
“UNICEF asks the European Union to get children out of institutions”
There are many children in the world
who cannot live with their families.
Most of them are in Europe and Central Asia,
where many children live in institutions.
Many of these children have intellectual disabilities.
With the support of the European Union, in the last few years
there are not as many children living in institutions as before.
But there are still many children living away from their families.
UNICEF is part of the UN
and works to help children all over the world.
UNICEF asked to the European Union to change the rules,
so that children who need care can live with their families.
Now many children who need help live in institutions.
Organisations like Inclusion Europe want to change this.
These organisations want the children to get care
while they stay with their families.
UNICEF wrote a report about this topic.
This report says:
- European countries cannot use the money
they get from the European Union to build institutions.
But they can use it to pay for different kind of services.
The European Union should carry on with this rule
to help move children out of institutions.
- The European Union says that children must have access
to care services without living in an institution.
But this does not happen in every European country.
In the next years, the European Union should work
to free all the children from institutions.
- In the next years, the European Union should give money
to organisations that work to close down institutions and support families.
The European Union should also use its money
to help inclusion in general.
Inclusion Europe agrees with this UNICEF report.
It is important that the European Union carries on closing down institutions
so that every child can make a life outside the institutions.
Our work brings the voice of people with intellectual disabilities and their families where decisions about their future are made.
This has always been incredibly important. It is even more so with the Covid pandemic drastic impact on their rights and lives.
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