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A new push for child protection reforms in Greece and Turkey

Eurochild and Martin James Foundation have renewed their partnership to reform child protection with two new grants to Roots Research Center, Greece and Hayat Sende Youth Academy Association, Turkey. This partnership will allow the organisations to bring their expertise to the process of transition from institutional to family- and community-based care (also known as deinstitutionalisation) in their respective countries.

In Greece, Roots Research Center will address the needs of children in alternative care in Crete, where most children in the alternative care system still grow up in institutions. They will train 80 social workers & psychologists working in residential settings to destigmatise deinstitutionalisation. By learning a new methodology, they will be better skilled to prepare children and young people for re-integration with their families or for independent living. Local juvenile lawyers and university students will also benefit from the training. The grant will also allow the organisation to support transition and placement of young people in semi-independent living apartments in the Greek island.

In line with the newly adopted Deinstitutionalisation strategy they will advocate for prioritising children in alternative as one of the main target groups of the European Child Guarantee in Greece.

In Turkey, the Hayat Sende Youth Academy Association will strengthen the foster care system and address misconceptions about family-based care by training over 450 prospective foster carers and offering psychosocial support to families or children in foster care and adoption. Benefiting from Eurochild’s expertise in advocacy, Hayat Sende aims to improve their working relationship with Turkish Ministries to promote family-based care across Turkey.

In the last ten years there has been an increase of family-based care in Turkey; still, two-thirds of all children in alternative care reside in institutions.

 “A strong and sustainable civil society is an important lever for change. We are delighted that this partnership will allow our members to progress child protection reforms in Greece and Turkey and share the knowledge and expertise through our wider network.” Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild

“We are looking forward to this new phase in our fruitful partnership with Eurochild working together to reform child protection and offering technical provision regarding family-based care. We are grateful to consolidate and build on the progress we have been pleased to previously support in Greece as well as supporting a new partnership in Turkey.”Daniel Croft, CEO, Martin James Foundation 

Background

In 2020, Eurochild started a fruitful cooperation with Martin James Foundation to push for national child protection reforms. This partnership supported three organisations in Greece, Croatia and Poland through re-granting, tailored capacity building and technical assistance. As a result, the organisations have gained recognition of their expertise and are invited to support government’s reflections and strategies on reforming child protection.

Hundreds of thousands of children across Europe are growing up in institutional care, characterized by depersonalization and routine. Many children who are separated from their families for protection reasons or because of disability, could in fact have remained in their family, if their family had received the necessary support. In cases where separation from their family is in the best interest of the child, alternative family care such as foster or kinship care should be prioritised. Children need stable and safe relationships with caring adults to thrive, and such relationships are far more likely to be created in a family environment.

Additional reading

Creating lasting change for children in alternative care – Lessons from Croatia, Greece and Poland




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