11 years of social work for active families, systems and communities 2011 – 2022

Activity Impact Study

of Hope and Homes for Children – Branch Bulgaria

 

We felt confident that we would make it, that we were not alone!

 They gave us strength for life, courage! Tomorrow is another day!”

 

Steli Peteva Ph.D., Violina Ananieva

 

Sofia, 2023

Summary

In 11 years the child grows, the family strengthens, the community comes together!

What everyone needs is to live together!

 

  • For the purpose and the authors of the evaluation

This is not a “standard” evaluation of an organisation’s activities and projects. It is a story about the activity of the people connected with the activities of Hope and Homes for Children – Branch Bulgaria (for short, HHC-Bulgaria), who shared their experiences, efforts and personal stories. The authors of this narrative are the evaluation participants – decision makers, professionals and families – sharing the difficulties and small victories over poverty, mistrust, loss and alienation. It is also the narrative of the people beside them – colleagues, associates, partners, and loved ones. Stories within the story of what helps families care for their children when they can’t care for themselves.[1]

  • About the participants and the impact

The evaluation involved 127 participants from 23 districts, 30 towns and 3 villages. With them we studied:

  • The impact of HHC on families: we met with a total of 32 children and adults – representatives of 12 extended families living in 6 locations and collected 47 other small stories from the experiences of professionals across the country working in the HHC-Bulgaria We learned about the change in the lives of children and families that began 5, 7 or 11 years ago with the meeting with the HHC. “We are not alone”, “We are coping”, “The child is learning”, “Our home is noisy and full”, “We are helping other families in need!”
  • The impact of HHC on professionals and communities: we collected examples of community impact from 61 professionals and partners working for DI and these included perceptions of ‘Partnership’, ‘Coordination’, ‘Reciprocity’, ‘Safety and Stability’.
  • The impact of HHC on systems at national level: we heard views on the shared vision from 9 participants – policy makers, government institutions, NGOs – HHC-Bulgaria are an active partner of the government in the DI process of Baby Homes.“, “We have a common understanding that DI is not an end but a means to achieve what is best for each child.”
  • Impact on international DI partnerships: we spoke to 2 HHC representatives (HHC UK, HHC Moldova) about the role of HHC-Bulgaria: “The HHC team is the lifeblood of national DI policy reform in Bulgaria”.
  • Impact on the HHC team: we talked to 23 HHC-Bulgaria team members about the bridges built between institutions, professionals, communities and families, about slow waters… and again about the families: “We learned self-giving”, “Every family’s life was changed!”, “My life as part of the HHC team changed – I changed my profession, I dedicated myself to people!”

With the help of the documents, we studied: the activities, roles and results of the HHC-Bulgaria and partners, integrated in more than 150 documents – strategic, professional and advocacy, authored and collective, international and Bulgarian – influencing the DI actors.

  • About the main conclusions

For 11 years, HHC-Bulgaria works for active families, active communities and active systems!

  • Active families:

HHC-Bulgaria activated with its support 2,826 families where parents are creating a home, caring for their children, working or completing education, and children are in kindergarten and school.

  • Active Communities:

HHC-Bulgaria affects professional communities with 3,290 professionals across the country through training, consultation and supervision to:

  • Implement mechanisms for cooperation and coordination at district and local level;
  • Develop a shared capacity to work directly with children and families at different risk or in crisis;
  • Influence helping attitudes to include family resources;
  • Impact the community through their participation in the Childhood 2025 Coalition.
  • Active systems:

The HHC-Bulgaria has worked steadily to reform DI policy and practice by closing 25 HMSCC out of a total of 28 HMSCC closed and by closing the “entrance” to institutions for children by:

  • It influences the social practice of CPDs, SADs, RDSAs, foster families and regional foster care teams (RFCTs), helping professionals, social services, RCMD – through trust in families, knowledge about the harm of institutions, models for active and crisis support, methods for prevention and reintegration, support of foster parents and the development of alternative services for families with children at risk.
  • Influence the health system and the work of HMSCC staff, health professionals, MH project teams, RHI experts, pediatricians – through evidence on the consequences of institutionalized childhood, mechanisms for closing the “entrance” and subsequent closure of the HMSCC themselves, assessment tools and support for transition from institutional care to community-based services and family living.
  • Influences the policy of DI and care for children and families through joint activities with the MLSP, MH, SAA and SACP – through monitoring and evaluation of own activities and outcomes for families, participation in capacity development and partnership at national, district and local levels.

 

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Our emotional Saturday

With the participants in the children’s and youth participation program at Hope and homes for children – Bulgaria, we visited the children and youth placed

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