Municipal Coordination and Monitoring Committees of EU ChildGuarantee discussed experience & results
European Commission is partnering with UNICEF to implement Phase 3 of the Preparatory Action
Sharing of experience, good practices, acquired new knowledge and skills along with challenges in the course of work and future plans. These were the topics discussed by the participants in the first sessions of the Municipal Coordination and Monitoring Committees, established under the project for pilot testing of the EU child Guarantee in Bulgaria.
Late June and early July saw the first sessions of the Committees in Kazanlak, Kotel, Tvarditsa and Sredets, along with working meetings in Nova Zagora and Aitos. The sessions of the Committees in Burgas and Chirpan are scheduled to take place by the end of the month and those in Sliven and Stara Zagora are planned for the beginning of September.
The Municipal Coordination and Monitoring Committees are chaired by the Mayors and include representatives of service providers, health, education and child protection establishments, Regional Departments of Education (RDE), the Regional Centres for Promotion of the Inclusive Education Process (RCPIEP), Child Protection Departments, Social Assistance Directorates and local civil society organisations, representatives of the communities. The main objective of the Committees is to showcase new practices and discuss the progress and results of the project activities, share experiences and information, promote cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination at municipal level.
During the meetings, the kindergartens and social services involved in the pilot activities reported some highlights as follows:
- The home-visiting nurses of the Centre for Child and Maternal Health with the ‘Dr Mirkovic’ Medical Centre who covers the entire Sliven region, made 2,963 visits between October 2020 and June 2021 in the municipalities of Kotel, Nova Zagora and Tvarditza. A total of 1,157 families with infants or toddlers up to 3 years of age were covered, along with 1,283 children in the three municipalities;
- 26 additional professionals joined the staff of kindergartens for integrating children with disabilities and learning difficulties – psychologists, speech therapists, special education teachers, with more appointments upcoming in summer and autumn;
- More than 400 teachers, professionals and non-teaching staff from the 30 pilot kindergartens took the initial general and specialised trainings and received methodological support for working with children with disabilities and their families. (More information about the trainings is available here.
- Kindergartens designed proposals for improvement of the inclusive environment and purchase of teaching materials, equipment and tools for augmentative and alternative communication to be funded under the project;
- 21 additional social assistants were appointed and mobile teams were established with the Community Support Centres that provide assistance to vulnerable children and families. They make visits across the communities, for the timely identification of children at risk, support families, meet with peers from the social assistance and child protection services and work together with them on joint cases for integrated support for parents and children. The number of families in the most vulnerable communities already covered exceeds 330, the teams already actively working with more than 50 marginalised families with children.
Bulgaria is among the seven EU Member States implementing projects for pilot testing of the EU Child Guarantee, with the support of UNICEF and funding from the European Commission as part of Phase III of the Preparatory Action to the EU Child Guarantee. (More details on the project are available here).
About the pilot project:
The EU Child Guarantee is an initiative of the European Commission for providing the most vulnerable children in the European Union with access to healthcare, education, childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition. The European Commission, in partnership with UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Regional Office, are engaged in the implementation of Phase III of the Preparatory Action, for pilot-testing the implementation of the EU Child Guarantee in seven EU member states.
In Bulgaria the pilot project focuses on children with disabilities and developmental difficulties and children in precarious family situations, including Roma children from vulnerable communities. The objective of the project is to expand the access to and to improve the quality of four types of services – home visiting for families with young children, early intervention for children with disabilities and developmental difficulties, quality inclusive preschool education and services centred on the children and families for prevention and support, with a focus on children in precarious family situations. Pilot activities are carried out in 10 municipalities across three regions – Bourgas, Sliven and Stara Zagora and will involve around 6,500 children and parents and nearly 600 professionals from various sectors.
This project is funded by the European Union.
© UNICEF-Bulgaria, 2021
The information and views set out in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.