On 14th December 2018, the Childhood 2025 Coalition held its Christmas meeting where organizations discussed in an informal and festive environment the achievements in the implementation of the policy of deinstitutionalization of children in Bulgaria as well as the challenges that remain on the agenda of the coalition.
As a result of the review of the Coalition's activity during 2018, the most important part of the initiatives in which members of the Coalition participated actively throughout the year were presented as:
• The drafting and adopting the new Social Services Act, which will bring about very positive changes in the social sphere.
• The analysis that the coalition made and submitted for consideration to the SACP national expert group on quality of care and an adequate financial standard to ensure this quality in the CSFR.
The financial justification provided by the Coalition was one of the main arguments which the Minister of Labor and Social Policy used in order to successfully protect an increase in the budget support of the Family Type Accommodation Centres by 18% in 2019.
• Veto for housing healthy children in HMSCC (Homes for medical and social care for children), achieved by the Coalition and other organizations working on deinstitutionalization!
• The beginning of a partnership with the Ministry of Health in relation to the establishment of Centers for Complex Services for Children with Disabilities and Chronic Diseases and the need to increase the qualification and training of the teams that will work in them.
• The signed agreement with Sofia Municipality, which presented the partnership between NGOs and the municipality in a new light by relating it to the negotiation of social services and aided the execution of a number of initiatives - an "Innovative Projects Fund" was developed, a forum for exchange of best practices and annual awards in the social sphere; a Quality of Social Services Framework and a Publicity Procedure have been developed as well.
• The Coalition initiates the creation of Replacement Care - a service that is not yet developed in Bulgaria and which became part of the new law for social services.
Many issues and challenges concerning the deinstitutionalization of children have were discussed, such as the poor quality of care in new services - the Family Type Accommodations and the danger of them becoming small-scale institutions; the lack of quality standards and financial standards guaranteeing the quality of care for children for whom public procurement has been carried out, but there are no published standards that can be applied in practice and lead to real change; the high turnover in the social system due to the low pay and the need to increase the professional competencies of the employees in it, etc. In addition, some administrative issues were discussed.
In the period 28.01-01.02.2019 there will be an annual meeting of the coalition with the purpose of planning, which will determine the priorities in their work in 2019-2020.