The Overall Objective was to increase the capacity of Belarusian child protection services to deliver high quality care for children without parental care (children in institutions and foster children) and to strengthen the child rights climate in the country in general.
The Specific Objective was: improved living conditions and future prospects of Belarusian children without parental care, by introducing relevant innovative professional practices.
The following results were achieved:
Result 1: Increased capacity of professionals working in the child protection system to initiate and implement innovative child friendly practices, and increased awareness of the need for inclusive care of children without parental care amongst stakeholders and the wider society.
ICDI implemented a comprehensive training for a group of 120 trainers, who in turn trained 400 colleagues in regular schools, foster parents, vocational schools and institutions to create a better environment for inclusion of children without parental care.
Training materials were developed which can be used by relevant organizations and agencies to continuously increase the capacity of their staff to deliver high quality services. Innovation lies for a big part in the focus on inclusion of children without parental care in communities and families, rather than allowing segregation to continue.
Next to this we changed the ‘minds and hearts’ of people. A tailor made media campaign, using methods like social media and film, reached wider society, to create awareness of the issues that children without parental care face and it lead to an increase in the number of potential foster parents.
Result 2: Increased social inclusion and empowerment of children in and from institutions and in foster care.
The focus was on empowerment of the young people themselves, those in and from institutions and in foster care, to promote their integration within communities. Many of these adolescents at 18 are not enough prepared for life in society. The aim is therefore to provide them with life skills that can enhance their prospects and adaptation to independent life. We trained another group of 20 trainers, who in turn trained a total of 400 adolescents in life skills.
Another important empowerment tool was the design and implementation of so-called mini-projects by the youngsters, staff of institutions and community members together. This was a thoroughly new idea in Belarus. The collaborative nature of these mini-projects strengthened the bonds between institutionalized children, their care givers, and the communities in which they live.
An estimated 10,000 young people without parental care are benefiting from the increased professional support they are receiving from social workers, educators and foster parents, and from increased social inclusion resulting from the mini-projects.