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Increasing the efficiency of the alternative child care system through a better use of the case management method

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The child protection system, represented by primary, preventive services and specialized, alternative care services, requires interlinked interventions in order to expect sustainable changes in the quality of life of children at risk. Thus, all the steps taken in relation to deinstitutionalization, closing of large institutions and the development of community services need to be accompanied by the operationalization of fundamental principles, in the form of working methodologies and practical guidelines, and programmes for initial and ongoing training and supervision of staff. Thus, through this project we aim to contribute to the operationalization of the principles of necessity, appropriateness and participation of children and their families by revising the legislation on the application of the case management method in the field of child protection.

The first normative act that regulated and officially introduced the case management method in the field of child protection is from 2006 (ANPDC Order no.288/2006). It is 14 years since then and in the meantime new normative acts have been adopted both at national level in the field of child protection (Decision no. 691/2015 – ref. on children with parents working abroad and on the cooperation between DGASPC-SPAS, GD 502/2017 on the organization and functioning of Commission for Child Protection, Orders no.25, 26, 27 and 81/2019 for the approval of minimum quality standards for children’s services etc.), and in the social field (Order no. 393/630/4236/2017 on integrated community services, Order no.1218 /2019 ref. to the mandatory minimum quality standards on the application of the case management method in the protection of adults with disabilities etc.), and at international level (UN Guidelines on alternative care for children – 2009, Guidelines on the reintegration of children, 2016, UN Resolution on the protection and promotion of the rights of the child – 2019 etc.).

At the same time, almost every analysis/report/study produced in recent years highlights the fact that there are many challenges in applying the case management method. These include:

  • high number of cases assigned to a case manager (2013)
  • children belonging to different sibling groups have different case managers (2016)
  • differences in approach between case managers (2016)
  • the implementation of case management by private providers is insufficiently regulated and not monetized (2017)
  • more than 30% of children in care homes had 3-9 case managers (2018)
  • insufficient time allocated to interactions with children and their parents due to the large number of documents to be completed/submitted (2020)

All of these challenges contribute to a constant number of 10,000 children entering the system each year, the long length of stay of children in alternative care (over 7.5 years), unplanned and unprepared leave of young people from care etc.

PROJECT SCOPE

Through the project we will contribute to increasing the quality of services provided to children from vulnerable groups (more than 100,000 children who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care) by improving the way case management is used. Improved use of the method will involve a participatory (involvement of beneficiaries from vulnerable groups), integrated (access to social, educational and medical services) and individualized approach.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

  1. To develop mandatory minimum standards on the use of the case management method in the field of child protection, within 18 months, through the participation of at least 96 children and parents from vulnerable groups, 100 professionals from public and private social, educational and medical services, 60 case managers and 10 decision makers from national and county/local level. At the same time, associative structures and professional organizations will be involved in the process.
  2. Capacity building of at least 60 professionals using the case management method within 13 months of the start of the project through participation in 3-day training sessions based on the revised standards. This activity will have a multi-stakeholder approach, in the training courses NGOs will ensure the connection between all actors: NGOs, local and central public authorities and institutions, professional organizations and associative structures.
  3. Carrying out an advocacy campaign to promote the draft mandatory minimum standards on the use of the case management method within 18 months. The advocacy campaign will aim at convincing decision-makers to adopt the minimum standards as developed in the project and will be based of an advocacy plan. As advocacy tools we will use meetings with stakeholders (Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, National Authority for the Rights of Persons with disabilities, adoptions and children, National College of Social Workers in Romania, Institutionalized Young People Council, directors of General Departments for Social Assistance and Child Protection) and letters.

The project is implemented by SOS Children’s Villages Romania in partnership with Centre for Non-profit Legislation Association, Federation of NGOs for the Child and SOS Children’s Villages Norway and benefits from a 99,987.43 euro grant from Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014 -2021. The content of this website does not necessarily reflect the official position of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021; for more information visit www.eeagrants.org. More details about Active Citizens Fund Romania are available at www.activecitizensfund.ro.

PROJECT DURATION

18 months (1st of May 2021 – 31st October 2022)

PROJECT BUDGET

108.404,75 euro, from which 99.987,43 euro is the grant and 8.417,32 euro is co-financing.