Short Breaks Foster Care for children with severe multiple disabilities
Support and resilience-building of the family raising children with severe multiple disabilities”.
“Short Breaks Service” is a family support service that provides a short break to families which take continuous care of the children, by arranging care of the children in another family that can meet their changing developmental needs, expand their social network and enhance quality of life. This kind of support changes the situation in the family for the better, reduces the risk of abandonment and / or placement in an institution. The service can be provided at the child’s residential accommodation, or in the hospital / sanatorium, where the child is placed temporarily. This project promotes active involvement of the civil society in helping families with children with disabilities, and promotes the integration of such families into the local community.
The project is implemented in the city of St. Petersburg and its nearest suburbs.
Presidential Grants Foundation
100 children with severe multiple developmental disabilities were supported by 34 trained social assistants. The quality of life of children with disabilities and their parents who received services in 2018 – 2019 was assessed and published. LINK
The main positive effects for families are an increase in the amount of free time for adults, an increase in the ability to plan their lives, organize their leisure time and improve themselves, and an improvement in emotional and physical health. More than 90 specialists from state social institutions and NGOs from 16 regions of the Russian Federation took part in webinars and discussed models for helping children with disabilities at home.
Active Family Support Service
Project Goals: Prevention of separation of young children from 0 to 3 years of age from families in crisis.
Implementation of a range of social and psychological services that make it possible to maintain a safe family environment for the child in a difficult life situation, and to avoid placing of the child into residential care, including in emergency situations when parents temporarily are not able to take adequate care of their children. Development and strengthening of parental competence that result in sustainable, qualitative changes in the family.
The project was implemented in the city of St. Petersburg.
Presidential Grants Foundation
Child Protection Agencies, Public Assistance Centers for families and children, NGOs
Services were received by 121 children from 54 families. The families have overcome crisis situations.
5 children were placed in professional families, thus their placement in residential institutions was avoided, and they returned to their families of origin.
Individual lessons were conducted with 25 parents, aimed at enhancing their parental competences. Working meetings and supervisions were held for 229 specialists.
The final conference was attended by 67 specialists from St. Petersburg, Moscow and Turkmenistan.
Tasks: Rapid assessment of needs and provision of relevant assistance needed to overcome crisis for families with children from 0 to 3 years, including children with disabilities or special needs, as well as families where parents have special needs or disabilities.
Work with the family is based on “case management” to provide emergency social assistance: identification of families where, as a result of a crisis, children are on the verge of separation or are already separated from their families; assessment of the needs of the child/children; development of an individual plan of emergency social assistance to the family on the basis of an assessment with the participation of the family; ensuring the receipt of all relevant social services; assessment of the effectiveness of the assistance provided and monitoring of families who leave the programme.
The project was implemented in St. Petersburg
Charitable Foundation for children and socially vulnerable adults “Klyuch»
Guardianship authorities of St. Petersburg, Family Support Centers of St. Petersburg, NGOs
During the three years of the project, a total of 215 children from 104 families became beneficiaries of the project. 95 children from families that had overcome the crisis were not separated from their parents; another 120 children received parenting and social counselling. 203 specialists took part in exchange of experience and professional development events.
«Emergency foster care model»
Overall Goal: Ending the use of institutional care for babies, infants and young children in St Petersburg, Leningrad oblast and Russia as a whole;
Concrete Goal: Create and test a model of family care for infants left without parental care at birth in one municipality of St. Petersburg and one region of Leningrad oblast;
Families in crisis are provided with short-term placement of children in trained professional families as an alternative to placement in residential care
The greatest difficulties arise in families when parents / guardians, other adult family members face circumstances where they are temporarily unable to perform the duties of child care: hospitalization, serious illness of one or both parents or other children in the family, the death of loved ones, the need to leave, etc. It is then that children are most at risk of entering residential institutions. Placement of a child in a professional family provides children with individualized attention and family-based care for the time that parents need to cope with life difficulties, undergo treatment/rehabilitation, etc., to achieve the goals and objectives that have been developed jointly with the specialists of the organization, so that the child can return home.
The project was implemented in St. Petersburg and Leningrad region
1. A model of short-term placement of children aged 0 to 3 years, temporarily left without family care in professional families, demonstrated that this type of care can promote the development and health of infants and young children as an alternative to institutional care;
2. A methodology has been developed for the selection, training and support of professional families specially trained to provide temporary, emergency care for babies and infants. Over the entire project implementation 2013-2018, 50 professional parents were selected and trained, and 20 delivered emergency foster care services at some point or other. At the end of 2018, 10 professional families were prepared and ready to work, 8 of in St. Petersburg and 2 in Leningrad region;
3. 249 children received project assistance, of which 79 children were placed in professional families for a period of several days to 6 months as an alternative to placement in institutional care. The average length of accommodation was 3 months.
«Parents who Know and Can»
Tasks: To identify evidence-based and effective parenting programmes that can deliver a targeted in-depth intervention to children and families who have been through a crisis or are at extreme risk with the aim of achieving significant and long term changes to parenting behaviours and child outcomes.
At present there are gaps in services delivery for children living with parents who are facing multiple challenges that could lead to greater risk of violence, neglect and eventual separation and loss of parental care. P4EC have identified a need to analyze the most effective and proven international parental programmes. During the pilot project experts visited 3 programmes in the USA: “SafeCare” in Atlanta, “FIND” in Eugene, and “Strengthening Families” in Salk Lake City, as well as “Marte Meo” in the Netherlands. The purpose of the visits was to select for further study a programme that can deliver practical support while also working in a therapeutic and behaviour-changing way to ensure that parents can receive knowledge about their child’s developmental needs, instruction in skills for setting boundaries, positive reinforcement, non-violent discipline and creating stable, positive and safe environments for their children to grow and develop to their full potential.
1. A short-list of 5 parenting programmes was identified following a desk review. A detailed interview guide for assessing the programmes was developed including key criteria for ensuring a fit with our work
2. A table summarizing the results and comparing the programmes with input from six experts: – two from P4EC Russia, two from UK and one from USA has been prepared following a process of preliminary interviews and visits to four programmes in the US and in the Netherlands.
3. Increased knowledge and understanding of P4EC Russia team about evidence-based parenting programmes.
4. “Marte Meo” and “Strengthening Families” were selected as the two programmes that most closely meet our criteria for flexibility, cost, adaptability and evidence of effectiveness.
Preventing unnecessary loss of parental or family care in Brazil, Guyana, India, South Africa and Russia
Tasks: To explore the application in practice of the ‘necessity principle’ from the Guidelines on Alternative Care for Children (UN, 2009) by using three quantitative and three qualitative indicators that provide information about whether children and families have received support to the fullest extent possible before a child ends up outside of parental care arrangements in formal or informal care, or living alone.
The indicators assume that a child in the care of his or her own parents and family is more likely to be protected than outside of the family. These indicators can monitor progress in child welfare reforms at national, sub-national and municipal levels. The data gathering instrument facilitates participation of children without parental care or those at risk of losing parental care, as well as participation of their parents in assessment of their needs and the support they are receiving.
An international team of practitioners and researchers from six organizations and 5 countries interviewed 611 children and 189 parents to gather data for the qualitative indicators. The main purpose of the report is to highlight areas where more could be done to support children and families and to prevent unnecessary loss of parental care arrangements.
Family for Every Child members’ initiative fund project
Report «Preventing unnecessary loss of parental care or family care in Brazil, Guyana, India, South Africa and Russia» https://p4ec.ru/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/preventing-unnecessary-loss-of-parental-or-family-care-in-brazil-guyana-india-south-africa-and-russia.pdf
Digital Story Telling
Task: To test a powerful tool for advocacy around the implementation of the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children at the national level and for our global advocacy work.
‘Digital Story Telling’ is a powerful method for research, education or psychotherapy. In our context, creation of the digital stories on the theme “A moment when I felt / did not feel part of a family” was designed as a tool for work with vulnerable groups of people, socialization of teenagers, and preventive work with children and parents.
Project activities included: a training seminar on Digital Story telling methods, held in St Petersburg for international NGO partners who gained insight into specifics of each other’s work, exchanged experience and expertise, and learned a new method for use in their own work to enable more effective participation of children and communities. P4EC’s psychologists and specialists in social work also conducted a series of 20 sessions/workshops on DST training with orphaned children, and a series of workshops with parents of the “Short Break Service”, with children in foster family care, and parents and children in a difficult family situation. Project results and lessons learnt by Family for Every Child members were combined into the report «Why Family Matters to Me»
Family for Every Child
Members of the Family for Every Child
Report «Why Family Matters to Me» https://familyforeverychild.org/report/why-family-matters-to-me/
Peer to Peer
Tasks: To consolidate future development of professional foster care services for vulnerable children and families in Russia and increase public awareness and understanding of the need for foster care for infants and children with special needs in St. Petersburg.
Key activities include: 1) Face-to-face and long-distance peer-to-peer exchange of practice and experience between foster carers and social workers in St Petersburg, Russia and Columbus, Ohio to compare and contrast approaches, promote reflection and learning and to jointly solve common problems that arise in providing these complex human services to very vulnerable children and families. 2) Development of a charter for the creation of a Russian Association of Professional Foster Carers, learning from the experience and history of the OFCA and other IHS/NARRCW partners. 3) Joint development of standards and service descriptions of respite care, emergency foster care and other models of foster care that are used as a way of supporting families and preventing unnecessary entry of vulnerable children, including babies and children with disabilities, into care. 4) Mutual learning about how foster care services are funded in Russia and the US and how resources can be maximized through fundraising as well as through government commissioning.
1. “Association” Support of professional families» registered in St. Petersburg
2. P4EC Russia communication strategy was created and two advertising and information campaigns were held in St. Petersburg “For the First time….”and” Every Day Counts»
3. Training and support programmes for professional families were developed
In the best interest of Children in need in Karelia
Overall objective – The system of the Republic of Karelia for the prevention of social orphanhood, child rights protection, family support, family placement and care of children in need of state support is focused on most effectively meeting the developmental needs of each individual child.
Specific objective – The Karelia child welfare system adopts a systemic approach to the planning and delivery of effective services by state and non-state organisations for the prevention of social orphanhood and the support of family well-being.
Estimated 3035 children and their families in need of support from the government and municipalities/NGOs of Karelia benefited from a strengthened system of services that can meet the needs of these children and their families in order to prevent, where possible, their social orphanhood (i.e. their entry into state care). The action targeted 435 extremely vulnerable children from 18 administrative districts of Karelia at high risk of losing parental care and aimed to prevent their entry into full-time care of the state. The action supported 90 decision-makers and specialists from municipal authorities to develop and implement municipal children’s service plans based on detailed needs assessments that identified gaps in services for these children; built the capacity of municipal and regional NGO and state specialists to assess need and plan services; and provided small grants to NGO and local authority organisations to develop and deliver new services to these children and their families at the local level.
Russian Resources for Russian Children
Tasks: To diversify streams of sustainable funds from local sources for
providing innovative social services for particularly vulnerable and marginalised children, which due to their novelty are not yet be financed by the state, but are vital for the most vulnerable categories of children.
During the project, the partner organizations strengthened their competencies in fundraising and communications in order to ensure that children and young people with disabilities, as well as children at risk of loss of parental care, families with children in difficult situations, could continue to receive innovative social services without interruption due to lack of funding.
The creative fundraising and communication concepts developed within the framework of the project became the main part of an advertising campaign on the program of assistance to families raising children with disabilities “Short Break Foster Care” in St. Petersburg. Information support of the advertising campaign was provided by the regional media.
1. Three NGOs have established management, administrative and organizational structures for professional fundraising that can ensure a steady flow of funding from Russian sources;
2. 40 employees of the NGOs received new skills and knowledge in fundraising, communication and management, writing grant applications and their implementation.
3. More than 500 people took part in the study by “Levada-center” on the attitude of residents of St. Petersburg to charitable support of children.
Taking Action for Children
Task: The project strengthened 3 national child welfare networks – focused on foster care, early intervention and family support – to more effectively support beneficiary engagement in constructive policy dialogue that leads to a reduction in, and addresses the consequences of, loss of parental care, including for very young children and children with disabilities, at a Federal level and in 10 regions of Russia.
A series of 6 Regional meetings and 2 conferences were organised for child care practitioners, foster carers, early intervention specialists, children, young people and parents. Standards were developed and implemented in 120 foster care and early intervention services. UN Guidelines on Alternative care and a new ‘loss of parental care’ index were disseminated across a further 130 services for children without parental care or at risk of losing parental care. A set of indicators for measuring unnecessary loss of parental care were developed and tested and over 2000 children and parents from 15 regions of Russia then provided information about their needs and how services were responding (or not responding) to their needs. Advocacy and communications of these results helped national and regional governments to focus attention on prevention and family support.
PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY FOR THE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES OF RUSSIA https://p4ec.ru/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/1-index-loss-of-parental-cate_j-rogers-2013-1.pdf
Empowering Marginalised Children in the Russian Federation
Task: To support children in conflict with the law, children left without parental care and children at risk of losing parental care to participate in decision-making that affects their lives.
The project was implemented in three directions:
- With the participation of representatives of district courts and bodies of guardianship and guardianship of St. Petersburg, children and adolescents left without parental care or in risk to be left without parental care was undertaken to develop mechanisms for taking into account the views of a minor in consideration of a question on deprivation or restriction of parental rights and determine the further fate of the child.
- Support for children and adolescents who have broken the law by testing alternative forms of punishment to reduce re-criminality and opportunities for rehabilitation and socialization of young people.
- Support for children with disabilities in residential care in Ekaterinburg and Sverdlovsk oblast to tell the carers and staff how to make their lives better.
The main activities for children and young people included training sessions; consultations; interaction with government decision-makers; analysis of European practices of children’s participation in trials and the use of alternatives to punishment; a trip to Bulgaria to exchange experience with their peers from other countries with the support of the IFCO Youth Committee.
Final Report publication: “The Right to be heard» https://p4ec.ru/publications/