More than 13,000 children and 5,300 parents were supported under the pilot project for the “European Child Guarantee” in Bulgaria

The services for the most vulnerable children and families could be funded in the future through the Programmes 'Human Resources Development' and 'Education' for the period 2023 – 2027

24 June 2022
Представителят на УНИЦЕФ в България Кристина де Бройн позира за снимка със зам.-министър Кръстев и зам.-министър Гайдарова
UNICEF Bulgaria/2022/Yotova

Sofia, 25 June 2022 The services for the most vulnerable children and families, tested under the pilot project "European Child Guarantee " in Bulgaria, will receive sustainability and could be funded through a new operation "Future for Children" under the program "Human Resources Development". The budget allocated for the operation is nearly 82 million leva. The pilot activities for enhancing inclusive education will be financed through the "Education" Program, which has an allocation of 200 million leva for the “European Child Guarantee”.

This was announced during the meeting of the National Coordination and Monitoring Committee for the pilot project, which had its second meeting on June 24, 2022, at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy with the participation of Ivan Krastev, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy and National Coordinator for the European Child Guarantee, Christina de Bruin, UNICEF Representative in Bulgaria, Maria Gaidarova, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Dr. Petar Gribnev, Deputy Minister of Health, and experts from other institutions.

"These are the funds allocated only for the most targeted measures in the field of the “European Child Guarantee”. The commitment of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy significantly exceeds the scope of these measures. Our goal is to have a wide range of related activities that will be effective and will bring results.", said during the meeting Ivan Krastev, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy and National Coordinator for the European Child Guarantee.

A total of 13,180 children and 5,357 parents were supported under the pilot project for the European Child Guarantee in Bulgaria between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2022. The Pilot project is funded by the European Commission and is implemented with the support of UNICEF.

The European Child Guarantee is a comprehensive initiative, and the pilot project has already demonstrated its potential to bridge the gap for the most disadvantaged children in Bulgaria,

said during the meeting Christina de Bruin, UNICEF Representative in Bulgaria.

Main data

Under the pilot project, children with disabilities and developmental difficulties, children in precarious family situations, and children from marginalized Roma communities received access to key services and support. One of the services provided is home visiting for pregnant women and families with young children, which has covered nearly half of all children under 3 years of age in the Sliven region.

The pilot project supports the development of a model for early childhood intervention for families with young children with disabilities and developmental difficulties in order to detect possible delays in child development and provide family-centered support in the child's natural environment. So far, 196 parents and 186 children have been supported, of which 33 families have received intensive support.

30 kindergartens received support for more effective inclusion of children with disabilities and special educational needs through training, enhanced methodological support, and funding for small projects to build an inclusive environment. Another component of the project provides prevention and support services for children and families from highly marginalized communities through mobile teams and community work. By March 2022, the mobile teams provided support to 2,066 children and 1,482 parents in vulnerable situations.

To improve the quality of the social services, the project has invested in strengthening the capacities of 768 professionals from different sectors who received training, methodological support, and supervision.

We are especially proud that the pilot project has tested some innovative approaches and new practices and has generated valuable evidence and lessons learned that will support the implementation of the National Action Plan,

said Christina de Bruin.

More about the achievements of the project can be found here.

Колаж от снимки с деца от проекта "Европейска гаранция за детето"
UNICEF Bulgaria/2022

Behind the numbers 

 Behind the data on the support provided by the pilot services are the personal stories and the changed destinies of the children and their families. Like Аlen from Chirpan , who at 4 years and 6 months pronounces his first words and sentences thanks to the early childhood intervention team. Or Мaria Magdalena from Sredets , who is already a student in first grade with the support of the mobile team in the city. As well as hundreds of children with disabilities or learning difficulties, who thanks to the efforts of the newly hired professionals and the adaptation of the environment through the development of corners and many additional materials, receive quality inclusive education and develop their abilities.

Deputy Minister Krastev shared that he had recently visited the outreach mobile services station in the predominantly Roma neighborhood of Lozenets in Stara Zagora, which opened as part of the pilot project.

I am extremely delighted with what I saw and the scope of the activities. I urge you all to visit and to see the results on the ground, which show the true spirit of the Guarantee,

he said.

Deep Dive in Child Poverty and Social Exclusion in Bulgaria

A key activity of the pilot project for implementation of the European Child Guarantee was conducting a deep dive analysis of the causes and drivers of poverty and social exclusion of children in Bulgaria and of the national policies, programmes and mechanisms to address them. The main conclusions and recommendations of the Deep Dive analysis have informed the drafting of the National Action Plan for the implementation of Council Recommendation for establishing a European Child Guarantee.

The analysis shows that the share of children under 18 at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Bulgaria decreased from 47.9% in 2015 to 36.2% in 2020, but remains high compared to the average level of this indicator for the EU, which is 24.2% and one of the highest percentage in the EU-27.

Christina de Bruin congratulated the Bulgarian Government on the adoption of a specific national target to reduce the number of children living at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

I would like to reconfirm UNICEF’s commitment to support national efforts for the effective implementation of the ECG and to help reach the national goal of permanently lifting children out of poverty. This is also the key priority of the new Country Programme between UNICEF and the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria for the period 2023 – 2027,

she added.

More about the findings of the analysis can be found here.

More information about the pilot project can be found here.

Media contacts

Boryana Gidikova
Communication Officer
UNICEF Bulgaria
Tel: +359 893 52 52 40

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