On October 20, 2021 in Kardzhali was held a session of the District Di Coordination Mechanisms (DDICM). The topic of the session was “The process of deinstitutionalisation in a time of pandemic, successes, problems and ways to solve them.” The session of the DDICM was chaired by Deputy Regional Governor Mr. Pavel Gatev. There were representatives of all institutions with commitments under the Child Protection Act – specialists from Regional directorate for social assistance, Directorates for social assistance from the district and the Child Protection Departments, representatives of the Social Assistance Departments in the municipalities, the Regional Foster Care Team, Bulgarian Red Cross, Hospital and Regional health inspectorate. Kremena Stoyanova, national coordinator for children’s policies of Hope and homes for children – Bulgaria and regional coordinator Ivanka Taushanova took an active part. The organization is the creator of the Coordination Mechanism and has been working for seven years in the district of Kardzhali under the program “Active Family Support”, aiming at the complete abolition of institutional care for children.
The main problems that arose during the pandemic period were highlighted. There is an increase in the share of families in crisis due to the long-term loss of work of parents. Low education and lack of occupation gradually lead to the social exclusion of the most vulnerable families, and children are at risk of abandonment. The other focus of the discussions was the urgent need to involve psychologists in the treatment of children with autism. There are 27 foster parents, eight do not have children and there are no families for children with disabilities. Foster families in other parts of Bulgaria are sought for children with disabilities. At the moment there are 30 children from 0 to 3 years and 4 young people aged 18 in Home for medical and social care for children. This year 5 children were transitioned and adopted abroad.
The good news came from the municipality of Kardzhali. The district town will have a Community Support Center by the spring of next year. Mrs. Mushkova from Regional directorate for social assistance informed that by August 2022 the SGH with constant medical care should be ready.
The participants in the session of the DDICM unanimously expressed their opinion that the interaction of the institutions and the opening of social services for children is the way to stop the process of institutionalization.