Problem: 0-3 year old children, who are born prematurely, have an increased risk of developing disabilities, or other developmental challenges
Solution: A multi-disciplinary early Childhood Intervention programme for children and family with disabilities and development challenges
Goals and objectives: To improve the well-being of young children with special needs and developmental challenges through the implementation of an innovative family support service that is tailored to the local context.
Implementation: For Our Children Foundation provides mobile social and health services across communities, implemented through the Foundation’s Community Support Centre’s in Sofia and Plovdiv Bulgaria.
From delivery rooms, early childhood intervention specialists carry out consultations and provide support to parents of premature babies, babies with special needs and babies with health problems. These support services are crucial as they also prevent the abandonment and institutionalization of children.
The early childhood intervention services provided are customized to meet the particular needs of children. The services include: supporting parents access appropriate health and social services; mobile services where ECI specialists provide expert support to children and their families at the comfort of their homes, enhancing the sensitivity and parent-child bonding, assisting the families garner better understanding, adapt and adjust to the needs of the child; transfer of parental skills to assist parent maintain and adapt to the child’s daily activities and routine, as appropriate for his/her actual condition and age; provision of special tools to assess the development, progress and needs of children and their families; provision of individual care plans for early intervention following the assessment of family needs.
The Foundation employs three ECI specialists, family therapists, psychologists and social workers. While some of these services are provided at the home of the families, some of the sessions are conducted at the Community Support Centre’s where the children can access music and art therapy sessions.
There is a strong community engagement in the programme. Parents are key stakeholders and are supported by a public council of the community support centers – representatives of the child protection system, the municipality, families, representatives of the healthcare system and other specialists. The council coordinates all stakeholders concerned with the child’s well-being. The council also provides a feedback loop where problems related to the community-based social services available to children and families can be conveyed.
Budget: The initial costs for the programme was 35 000 Euros per year, supporting about 80 children with special needs and their families annually.
Achievements: The programme has been externally evaluated in 2014 noting the positive effect on the development of the children and their families, professionals and communities, capacity of the organisation and services on the whole.
Alexander Malinski, Director
Gyueshevo 211303 g.k. Serdika, Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: 02/980 70 58