French federation promotes the transition from institutional to family and community based care

Eurochild member and National Partner Network, CNAPE - La fédération des associations de protection de l’enfant, organised a national seminar entitled “Accompanying people in their choice of life - From life in an institution to life in the community: a transition in question (s)”.

The seminar which took place in Paris on 12 - 13 June 2017 with support from the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community based Care, attracted 40 participants from national civil society organisations, representatives from councils’ departments, and representatives of the European Services Network and the European Network on Independent Living.

The seminar’s thematic workshops focused on the societal implications of the transition from institutional to family and community based care and on stakeholders' perception of deinstitutionalisation (DI) reforms. One of the topics that resonated during the seminar was that “deinstitutionalisation is good because it costs less" which brought many different opinions.

In particular, it was discussed that the lack of public financing to local authorities has pushed these authorities to invest more in deinstitutionalisation. Nevertheless, it was concluded that the costs and gains of DI, over short, middle and long term, should be more and better evaluated.  

Participants also presented inspiring practices during the conference. The good practice of NGO ASEA 43, member organisation of CNAPE, about family support in child protection ("service d'accueil externalisé") received positive feedback. The aim of this practice is to avoid the unnecessary placement of children in institutional care, by providing strong parental support to families at risk, especially those with babies and toddlers under the age of 3.

In addition, the pillar of exchanges and experiments for educational solidarities ("PEPSE", co-facilitated by UNAPP - national union of actors of mentoring) was presented. The pillar is proposed to share experiences on education and to imagine education of tomorrow, by gathering institutions, professionals, citizens including children to discuss and develop co-education and empowerment:  

Participants of the seminar reached the following recommendations: 

to de-categorize the supply of services (and therefore the need to leverage more funding) by relying on territorial platforms for more cross-cutting approach  and financing

to develop opportunities for inter-institutional dialogue in order to improve the coordination of actors around the implementation of life projects

to co-elaborate an inter-institutional evaluation framework assessing the needs of service users, with their participation.  

CNAPE has committed to support the advocacy efforts towards deinstitutionalization  reforms in France. As a first step CNAPE proposed to add advocacy on DI reforms to the the participants agenda of the High Council on social work. In addition, it was suggested to develop a DI advocacy report, which would include the practices and recommendations reached at the seminar. A follow up of the seminar should take place in the autumn of this year. 

There is a need to also involve more actors in this dialogue. We believe that organisations as public authorities, financing institutions for children and adults have a significant role to play in the transition from institutional to family and community based care”, said Sophie Bourgeois,CNAPE.