Eurochild : child poverty, child rights, children in Europe, social exclusion, poverty, Communication on the Rights of the Child, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Community Action Programme, National Action Plans on social exclusion and social protection

24.10.12 Eurochild's Annual Conference 2012 in Sofia

"Promoting the rights of children in alternative care across Europe"

Eurochild's 9th Annual Conference took place from 24-26 October 2012 at the Princess Hotel, Sofia, Bulgaria. It was co-hosted by our Bulgarian member organisation National Network for Children

Children growing up in care or at risk of being taken into care are among the most vulnerable in Europe. Whilst no consistent data exists across Europe, the number of children concerned is significant, probably well over 1˝ million.

Our Annual Conference 2012 looked at how the rights of these children can be best protected and promoted. At a time of unprecedented strain on public finances – and on the child protection system – how can we ensure the best interest of the child is at the heart of all decision-making regarding children’s care?

The Annual Conference Report can be viewed here and downloaded here.

The Child Rights Perspective

We brought the child rights perspective to highly relevant issues including:

  • the closing down of institutions;
  • preventing child abandonment and care placement of under 3s;
  • working with the biological families of children in care;
  • support for children with disabilities and their families; and
  • the transition to adulthood for children leaving care.

The Concept

The conference provided a platform to share experience of what is working across Europe to build a positive force for changing practice and bringing about policy reform.

The concept of our Annual Conferences based on several pillars: plenaries, workshops, study visits and exchange of good practice.

Child and Youth Participation

A group of children and young people with experience in the care system accompanied the event and brought their unique perspective into the debate.

Highlights

This year's highlights have been:

  • the reception with the President of Bulgaria and European Ambassadors,
  • the powerful and touching inputs of the group of young people,
  • the supporting and encouraging speeches by European Commissioners Kristalina Georgieva (Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response) and László Andor (Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion)
  • a variety of study visits paired with comparative practice from across Europe,
  • the Forum of Good Practice with 22 exhibition spaces and 12 speakers corner presentations.

Programme

Find the detailed programme: click here for online reading and here for download

Video Recordings

The video recordings of the Plenary sessions (Thursday morning and Friday afternoon) can be watched here.

Photos

Click here to view our photo gallery of the Annual Conference 2012.

Programme with Photos, Presentations & Video links

WEDNESDAY 24 October 2012

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19.00-19.45 OFFICIAL OPENING

  • Nevena Madjarova, Chairperson of the Board of the National Network for Children, Bulgaria [Photo]
  • Maria Herczog, President, Eurochild, Member of the UNCRC Committee, Director of Family, Child and Youth Association, Hungary [Photo]
  • László Andor, European Commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion [Photo, Video]
  • Representatives from the meeting of children and young people with care experience [Photo]

 

THURSDAY 25 October 2012

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9.00-9.15 OPENING SESSION

  • Tsetska Tsacheva, Chairwoman of the National Assembly, Bulgaria, Official welcome [Photo, Video(1)]
  • Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild, Conference road map [Photo, Video(2)]

9.15–10.15 THE POLICY CONTEXT FOR IMPROVING THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN IN ALTERNATIVE CARE IN EUROPE

  • Marie-Anne Paraskevas, European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs & Employment, European Social Fund [Speech, couldn't attend]
  • Dima Yared, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Regional Office for Europe [Photo, Video(3)]
  • Jean-Claude Legrand, Senior Regional Advisor Child Protection, UNICEF Regional Office CEE-CIS [Presentation, Photo, Video(4)]
  • Discussion [Video(5)]

10.15–11.00 WHY IS A CHILD-RIGHTS APPROACH TO ALTERNATIVE CARE SO IMPORTANT?

  • Sharon Gibson, Young person with care experience, Isle of Man College Sessional Lecturer, British Isles [Presentation, Photo, Video(6)]

11.00-12.00 LESSONS LEARNT ON DEINSTITUTIONALIZATION IN BULGARIA

14.30-17.30 WORKSHOPS & STUDY VISITS

A - CLOSING OF INSTITUTIONS

  • A1 - Social Activities and Practices Institute
    International Good Practice: New Homes, new beginnings – Hope and Homes for Children Romania [Presentation]
  • A2 - Hope and Homes for Children
    International Good Practice: Closing institutions for persons with severe intellectual disabilities: methodology, achievements and lessons learned –  KHSIMA (Moldova) [Presentation]

B - 0-3S PREVENTING CHILD ABANDONMENT

  • B1 - For Our Children Foundation
    International Good Practice: Family strengthening and prevention of child abandonment  at the age of 0-3 years -  SOS Children's Villages Latvia & Romania [Presentation]
  • B2 - Animus Association
    International Good Practice: Towards elimination of institutional placement of children from 0 to 3 in Europe: Components of success and the need for in-depth analysis of resistance - Vilnius University, Lithuania [Presentation]

C - SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

  • C1 - Cedar Foundation
    International Good Practice: Hearing the voices of children and young people with learning disabilities - Change-People (Rights of Children), UK [Presentation]
  • C2 - Child and Space Association
    International Good Practice: Early intervention and rehabilitation centre for children with disabilities - Heart of a Child, Romania [Presentation]

D - WORKING WITH BIOLOGICAL FAMILIES OF CHILDREN IN CARE

  • D1 - Tulip Foundation
    International Good Practice: How Norway is involving children in decision making in Family Group Conferencing – FGC Norway [Presentation, Video]
  • D2 - Health and Social Development Foundation
    International Good Practice: In situ: Returning Home Support Program -  Resilis Foundation, Catalunya – Spain [Presentation]
  • D3 - Alliance for Children and Youth
    International Good Practice: In the child’s best interest? – Managing contact between children in alternative care and their birth families in a Maltese context -  Agenzija Appogg [Presentation (Sound and videos missing)]

E - SUPPORTING CHILDREN LEAVING CARE

  • E1 - SOS Children's Villages Bulgaria
    International Good Practice: Supporting young people making the transition from Government care to adulthood in England - National Care Advisory Service, UK [Presentation]
  • E2 - AGAPEDIA Bulgaria Foundation
    International Good Practice: A Step to the Future – How to Help Young People Leaving Care Find Their Way: - Hope and Homes for Children Bosnia and Herzegovina [Presentation]

19.00-21.00 OFFICIAL RECEPTION WITH THE BULGARIAN PRESIDENT

  • Reception hosted by Rosen Plevneliev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria [Photo, Video]

 

FRIDAY 26 October 2012

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9.00-11.00 WORKSHOPS

  • A - CLOSING OF INSTITUTIONS
    Research Project: Alternatives to institutions in Bulgaria and Brazil : Appreciating best practice - EveryChild and Know How Centre [Presentation]
  • B - 0-3S PREVENTING CHILD ABANDONMENT
    Research Project: Child Abandonment in Europe - Results of Daphne project on abandonment - Family, Child, Youth Association (Hungary) [Presentation]
  • C - SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
    Research Project: The implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for children with intellectual disabilities - Inclusion Europe [Presentation]
  • D - WORKING WITH BIOLOGICAL FAMILIES OF CHILDREN IN CARE
    Research Project: Comparative study of siblings in alternative care in Germany, Austria, France, Italy and Spain - Alpen-Adria University of Klagenfurt [Presentation]
  • E - SUPPORTING CHILDREN LEAVING CARE
    Research Project: In the eye of the beholder: interpreting the UN Guidelines for Alternative Care of Children and the case of leaving care - Anglia Ruskin University [Presentation]

11.30-14.00 FORUM OF GOOD PRACTICE

Networking space with 20 exhibitors [List]

11.35-12.05 SESSION 1

  • 1A) Preventing the separation of children from their families in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Review of Hope and Homes for Children ACTIVE Family Support - Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2003-2010
    Julia Kragulj, Regional Child Care Advisor, Hope and Homes for Children (HHC), Bosnia and Herzegovina [Presentation, Photo]
  • 1B) Five Nations One Voice: Raising our coordinated and amplified voice for care experienced children and young people
    Vivian McConvey, Chief Executive, Voice of Young People in Care, Northern Ireland; Deborah Jones, Chief Executive, Voices from Care Cymru, Wales [Presentation, Photo]
  • 1C) Sibling relations in alternative care
    Sylvie Delcroix, Technical Advisor, SOS Children’s Villages France [Presentation, Photo]

12.10-12.40 SESSION 2

  • 2A) The Ombudsman’s voice for Deinstitutionalisation: A comprehensive investigation on children in care under 3years
    Agnes Lux, Head of Unit, Office of Commissioner for Fundamental Rights in Hungary [Presentation, Photo]
  • 2B) How a children’s rights based approach can support social workers to build positive relationships and improve contact between children in alternative care and their families
    Cath Larkins, Senior Research Fellow, University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), UK [Presentation, Photo]
  • 2C) Working with biological families and supporting children and young adults leaving care
    Ioanna Avloniti, International Cooperation Coordinator ‘The Smile of the Child’, Greece [Presentation, Photo]

12.45-13.15 SESSION 3

  • 3A) Early Intervention Service for Children with Disabilities: The family-centred approach
    Apostol Apostolov, Programmes Evaluator & Vesselina Vassileva, Projects Coordinator, Karin Dom Foundation, Varna, Bulgaria [Presentation, Photo]
  • 3B) Family Group Decision Making: An Edinburgh prospectus
    Anne Begbie & Denise Malone: Family Group Coordinators, City of Edinburgh Council, Scotland, UK [Presentation, Photo]
  • 3C) Fostercare Treatment not Punishment: Piloting a Family Treatment programme with young offenders in Greece
    Mary Theodoropoulou & Natalie Georgia Roberson, Roots Research Centre, Athens, Greece [Presentation, Photo]

13.20-13.50 SESSION 4

  • 4A) The Right to Quality Early Childhood Education and Care for Children under 3 years old living in prison in Spain
    Ana Ancheta Arrabal, Fundacion Montessori Sin Fronteras & Doctor Assistant Professor, University of Valencia, Faculty of Philosophy and Educational Sciences, Spain [Presentation, Photo]
  • 4B) The Family Strengthening Programme as a response in the prevention of child abandonment
    Senka Cimpo, Family Strengthening Project Coordinator, SOS Children’s Villages Bosnia and Herzegovina [Presentation, Photo]
  • 4C) Prohibiting and eliminating corporal punishment in all alternative care settings
    Ian Johnston, International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), European Executive Committee, UK [Presentation, Photo]

14.00-16.00 CLOSING PLENARY

14.00-14.15 PRESENTATION BY THE CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE WITH CARE EXPERIENCE

14.15–15.30 REALISING THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE IN ALTERNATIVE CARE

  • Facilitator: Haralan Aleksandrov, Ph.D, Social anthropologist, Bulgaria [Photo, Video(3)]
  • Panelist: Margaret Tuite, European Commission, DG Justice, Child Rights Coordinator [Photo, Video(4)]
  • Panelist: Tanja Radocaj, UNICEF Representative, Bulgaria [Photo, Video(5)]
  • Panelist: Audrone Bedorf, Senior adviser to the Ombudsperson for Children’s Rights, Lithuania [Presentation, PhotoVideo(6)]

15.30-16.00 CLOSING SESSION

  • Key note speech: Kristalina Georgieva, European Commission, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response [Photo, Video(7)]
  • Conference Round-UpJana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild [Photo, Video(8)]
  • Taster for the 2013 Eurochild Annual Conference, Albero della Vita, Italy [Slide]
  • Closing words: George Bogdanov, Executive Director, National Network for Children, Bulgaria [Photo, Video(8)]
 

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