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Guides for Providers of Services to Families and Children with Disability

Prirucnici
© UNICEF
Guides for Providers of Services to Families and Children with Disability

Six guides for community-based service providers who work with families and children with disability have been produced as part of the project “Developing Community-Based Services for Children with Disability and their Families”, which is funded by the European Union and implemented with the technical support of UNICEF in close cooperation with the Serbian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.

The guides offer practical ideas, advice and recommendations for the establishment of new services, or improvement of existing ones, for families and children with disability with the aim of enhancing social inclusion and preventing institutionalization of these children.

In addition to an overview of the relevant international framework, national strategies and documents, the guides present the main innovations stemming from the Serbian Social Welfare Law (2011), which pertain directly to the development of community-based services.

1) Respite Care Service for Children with Disability (PDF)

This guide is intended for current and future service providers and aims to present the fundamental elements of good and beneficial practice and quality in service provision, thus enabling professionals to address, in the best way possible, the individual needs of children and young people, as well as those of their families.

It indicates the main stages in the process: assessment of needs and definition of the priorities within a local community, formulation of local strategic documents, adoption of necessary by-laws or regulations, decision-making and conclusion of contracts with service providers, referral of beneficiaries to services and definition of the role of centre for social work.

The guide instructs the reader in the basic stages of working with beneficiaries which provide the framework for an individualized approach – admission and assessment, preparation for provision of service and development of an individual care plan, areas of support and activities undertaken in directly working with beneficiaries. Close attention is also paid to activities that involve families, while the text is complemented with illustrations and practical examples.

2) Day Care for Children and Young People with Disability (PDF)

The guide is intended for service providers, commissioning authorities and practitioners, as well as for beneficiaries themselves. It indicates the main stages in the process: assessment of needs and definition of the priorities within a local community, formulation of local strategic documents, adoption of necessary by-laws or regulations, decision-making and conclusion of contracts with service providers, referral of beneficiaries to services and definition of the role of centre for social work.

The guide includes an overview of the basic principles in operating a day care facility, accompanied by concrete examples for setting up a basic work programme and cooperation with the local community. Furthermore, it provides guidelines for the establishment of criteria and priorities for admission, to ensure that the service is available where it is most needed.

The guide also covers issues related to the professional capacities of employees, evaluation of their work, as well as evaluation of the progress of beneficiaries and the active involvement of them and their families by assessing their satisfaction with the service.

Particular attention is paid to the professional work itself, organized in the following stages:
- Assessment of needs and abilities of a beneficiary,
- Planning the service for each individual beneficiary (individual service plan),
- Realization of activities identified in individual plans,
- Review and evaluation of individual plans.

The guide aims to promote the concept of individual support to each child with the goal of achieving the highest possible level of individual independence in practising everyday living skills and adjusting the level of support to the individual needs of beneficiaries, by providing guidelines for and practical examples of:
- Development of everyday living skills,
- Development of social skills,
- Development of speech and movement,
- Creative expression, and
- Entertainment and recreation.

Finally, the guide also offers related good practice examples, with particular emphasis on the importance of support for and cooperation with the families of children and young people with disability.

3) Home Help Service for Children with Disability and their Families (PDF)

The purpose of this guide is to improve the quality of the service and contribute to its sustainability as much as possible, through the guidelines and good practice examples provided. In that sense, the guide is intended for future providers of home help services, with the aim of facilitating the process of setting up a service; as well as for all those already providing such a service, to help them to promote and develop it.

It indicates the main stages in the process: assessment of needs and definition of the priorities within a local community, formulation of local strategic documents, adoption of necessary by-laws or regulations, decision-making and conclusion of contracts with service providers, referral of beneficiaries to services and definition of the role of centre for social work.

The guide provides the answers to the following questions:
- Who are service providers,
- Who are service commissioning authorities,
- Who supervises the work of service providers,
- Who secures the funding,
- In which way is cooperation achieved with the local community?

The guide also covers the subject of the professional profiles and capacities of employees. Particular attention is paid to actual work with beneficiaries which must be based on individual needs, implying the consistent practice of: a) comprehensively informing beneficiaries about the service, b) assessment of beneficiary needs, c) development of individual plans and d) review and evaluation. In all stages of service provision, the emphasis is put on the active involvement of beneficiaries, including the importance of monitoring their satisfaction, which is essential to assessment of the service and improvement of its quality.

4) Supported Living for Young People Leaving Care and Persons with Disability (PDF)

This guide is intended for service providers, commissioning authorities and practitioners, as well as for beneficiaries themselves.

It indicates the main stages in the process: assessment of needs and definition of the priorities within a local community, formulation of local strategic documents, adoption of necessary by-laws or regulations, decision-making and conclusion of contracts with service providers, referral of beneficiaries to services and definition of the role of centre for social work.

The guide includes an overview of the fundamental principles of operation for a supported living service, as well as basic organizational models. Furthermore, it addresses the difference in concept and development of service plans depending on whether the service is provided to a young person leaving care, or to a person with disability.

The guide also covers the issues related to the professional capacities of employees, evaluation of their work, as well as evaluation of the beneficiaries’ progress and the active involvement of beneficiaries and their families by assessing their satisfaction with the service.

Particular attention is paid to the professional work itself, organized in the following stages:
- Assessment of needs and abilities of a beneficiary,
- Planning the service for each individual beneficiary (individual service plan),
- Realization of activities identified in individual plans, with special emphasis on the process of preparation and adjustment of beneficiaries,
- Review and evaluation of individual plans.

In the context of individualization and adjustment of support to beneficiaries’ needs, the guide provides:
- Systematic classification of the types of support according to the following criteria: a) support duration, b) support frequency and c) support intensity,
- Overview of the basic methods of the support provision, as well as of the actual activities of independence counsellors.

Finally, the major part of the guide is dedicated to the activities that service providers need to implement with community and within the community, bearing in mind the role that the community plays in achieving the service’s aim – i.e. achievement of independence by the beneficiaries and their full integration into the community.

5) Training of Carers for Working with Children with Disability (PDF)

The guide is primarily intended for carers who directly work with children with disability as a part of community-based services, but its content is also relevant for those engaged on placement services.
The carers perform tasks which include practical learning and help in all the activities related to caring for oneself (dressing, personal hygiene, nutrition). They also provide immediate basic care when needed – changing clothes, bathing, babysitting and feeding. They are important associates of each of the professional team members who for their part perform the more complex tasks of planning of work with both children and their families, as well as monitoring progress. The carers perform their tasks in constant coordination and consultation with other team members.

In order to help carers to work better with children with disability and better understand children’s needs, the guide provides basic knowledge about types of disabilities, developmental characteristics of children and particularities of how their families function, i.e. the common reactions of parents in bringing up their children.

Special attention is paid to the topics of neglect and abuse. Furthermore, the guide addresses the importance of communication, early stimulation and structuring of time and tasks in working with children. The text also includes a series of proposals and ideas for concrete activities which carers can undertake when working with children at an early age and also later.

Finally, the guide is focused on acquiring practical skills of care, animation and provision of proper support to children. The sections that provide an introduction to health care, as well as basic information on the conditions and illnesses which carers may encounter while working in social care services, are accompanied with concrete guidelines and examples.

6) Training of Volunteers to Work with Children with Disability (PDF)

The guide is intended for providers of services to children and young people with disability who want to engage volunteers, in the knowledge that this type of engagement may greatly contribute to the quality of their work.

It includes basic information pertaining to volunteer management – planning, job description development, identification and selection of volunteers, training, supervision and professional support, assessment and evaluation of the volunteer’s work. The major part of the guide is dedicated to the preparation (i.e. training) of volunteers to work with children and young people with disability. The main goal is to establish the initial conceptual bases and methodological framework for organizing volunteer training, which each provider of services for children and young with disability may augment in accordance with specific local factors and available resources.

On the assumption that volunteer work needs to contribute to the total support provided to children, the guide outlines training to ensure that volunteers acquire basic knowledge about: how to approach a child, in what ways to satisfy children’s needs and stimulate their development, how to direct and channel children’s behaviour, and how to support children and young people in the process of socialization and achievement of independence.

The guide offers a set of practical suggestions, ideas and exercises which service providers can implement in the process of training their volunteers, all revolving around the following issues:
- Basic concepts of social inclusion and non-discriminatory practice,
- Children with disability: what we know and what we think we know,
- Individual approach to a child,
- Methods and techniques of working with children with disability.

 

 
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