94% of Childcare Facilities Are Closed
Currently 94% of all child care institutions are closed, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy Zornitsa Rusinova said at a press conference before the opening of a forum on the deinstitutionalization of childcare in the National Palace of Culture.
The conference will be attended by over 320 participants from 31 countries.
Rusinova recalled that in 2010, the National Strategy "Vision for Deinstitutionalization of Children in Bulgaria" was adopted, which outlined the most extensive reform in the social sphere. The strategy focuses on closing down all child care institutions in the country by 2025.
Rusinova pointed out that it is important for the authorities to give a different chance of life for 7600 children during this period. She recalled that small family-type residential homes were set up, located in a residential neighbourhood, close to schools, hospitals. Kids can play with their peers, be part of the community. We have changed the lives of over 14,000 children in Bulgaria, Rusinova said.
Prior to the adoption of the Strategy Paper, 7,587 children were placed in 137 specialized institutions.
Currently, there are 21 specialized institutions for children in the territory of the country, in which there are 495 children and young people. The remaining 21 institutions will be closed by the end of 2021, and th children and young people will be moved to new social services. Old-type institutions for children and young people with disabilities are no longer functioning.
To date, 324 new types of social services for children and families with a total capacity of 10,659 places are provided in the country. Resident-type social services that provide 24-hour care are 303 with a total capacity of 3 360 places.
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