What are we actually doing?

It’s a delicate balance between having little money, three children, living in a remote area. And when one of your children has an accident and needs to be treated in a hospital in a distant city and there is no one to leave the healthy children with, you definitely need help.

The people that Hope and homes for children – Bulgaria supports have a difficult fate and most of them are on the verge of dropping out of public attention. Our meetings with them give them confidence that they can handle any situation.

Our meeting today is with Minka (name changed). She has three children that she loves very much, but she also suffers from mental illness.

Minka lives in a remote village in the Yambol region and manages to raise her children until the moment when the oldest child is doused with hot milk and has to be admitted to a hospital in Plovdiv. By medical transport, the child is taken to the treatment facility, but the mother must be present at the hospital if interventions are required with the child, in order to give consent for the treatment.

The problems that our colleagues have to solve are: how to get the mother to Plovdiv, where she should be accommodated and who will look after the two children because there is no one to leave them with.

What our team did.

With transport, we managed to move Minka from the village of Yambol to Plovdiv. Here, another colleague accompanied the mother to the hospital and managed to find a free place in the “Mother and Baby Unit” where the mother and one child could live for a short time because they could not afford a hotel. A third child as mother wanted stay temporarily with foster parents in Yambol. Minka has no other relatives in the area. At that time, our colleagues searched for Minka’s sister, who lives in Kyustendil, and started talks with her to help her sister with raising the children. This requires time, experienced professionals and many conversations.

After a few days of Minka’s stay in the “Mother and Baby Unit” in Plovdiv, due to stress, she has a crisis and has to leave the Unit. The changed situation puts our team in a completely different situation – to look for a specialist and for her to be hospitalized. The child who is with her must be placed in an institution or a foster family. Our team urgently organizes transport from Kyustendil to Plovdiv so that the aunt can take the child and he can live with his relatives. After Minka was stabilized, she continued to care for the older child until his burn wounds healed. Our colleague was constantly informed about what was happening and upon discharge from the hospital sent the child and the mother by bus to Sofia. Another coordinator sent her to Kyustendil to be reunited with her two children. Minka’s sister suggested that they all live with her and start procedure for the return of the youngest child to the family. We continued to work for the complete reunification of the entire family. Three children and their mother will be together again and supported by their relatives.

Hope and homes for children – Bulgaria manages to deal with many similar situations because we have created a network of specialists and people who can be sought in solving complex life problems.

I would like to briefly mark all the steps in this case.

Conversations with “Child Protection” departments in Yambol and Plovdiv, search for service providers, search for a psychiatrist, conversations with relatives and friends, organization of transport Kyustendil-Yambol, logistics for the departure of the mother and child Plovdiv-Sofia-Kyustendil. Transport from Kyustendil-Yambol so that the mother can gather together with whole family and three children. And more small details that take a lot of time and require persistence and a network of people who are available at any moment because other people need them at that moment.

Every single case where a child may be abandoned needs timely support and a team to understand the problems and find possible solutions.

Hope and homes for children – Bulgaria with its team is in cooperation with many organizations, which contributes to the good results of not allowing a child to be placed in an institution.

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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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