Shifting towards Family-Centered Services

International Conference on Early Childhood Intervention

01 December 2023
Early Childhood Intervention services

[Chisinau, 30 November 2023]  Local and international experts, central and local public authorities, early intervention service beneficiaries, members of civil society, and healthcare institution and Psychopedagogical services managers gathered in a conference to discuss the strengthening of the Early Childhood Intervention System in the Republic of Moldova.

The conference emphasized the pivotal shift towards family-centered ECI services, highlighting the critical role of collaborative efforts in enhancing Early Childhood Intervention practices. The event provided the opportunity to reflect on the significance of Early Childhood Intervention, or ECI services, allowed the exchange of insights and international best practices in this area.

Numerous success stories were shared, underscoring the positive impact of family-centered approaches across various communities.

The ECD KAP study that UNICEF conducted this year revealed that the acceptance for inclusion of children with disabilities in regular preschools doubled in the last five years - from around 24% in 2018 to 46% in 2023. However, parents of children with disabilities still tend to keep them at home or in specialized institutions. 

“If we put ourselves in those parents’ shoes, we would understand their concern and anxiety. The caregivers are not confident that the child will get the services they need, and we may find that the professionals themselves are worried that they are not fully equipped with knowledge and skills to include children properly. It would be much more effective to work with them together”, said Maha Damaj, UNICEF Representative in Moldova

Data shows that children with disabilities face a higher likelihood of not attending school, lower odds of successfully completing primary or secondary education, and reduced chances of acquiring fundamental literacy skills. Additionally, children with sensory, physical, and intellectual disabilities are 2.5 times more likely to have never experienced formal schooling. Many children facing developmental delays in Moldova either go unidentified in a timely manner or do not receive timely and consistent assistance and support.

Consequently, the conference emphasized the critical importance of reinforcing the regulatory framework for ECI service delivery, focusing on aspects such as costing, quality, and access, but also scaling up the implementation of guidelines for monitoring child development.

Globally, 250 million children under the age of 5 in low- and middle-income countries are at risk of not reaching their full potential and 52.9 million children under the age of 5 have a disability or developmental deficiencies, of which 95% come from low- and middle-income countries. 

The conference was organized by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF Moldova, with the financial support of the Government of Japan.

Media contacts

Angela Munteanu
Communication Officer
UNICEF Moldova
Tel: + 373 22 26 91 53
Valeria Dumitriu
Communication Officer
UNICEF Moldova
Tel: +373 68878436


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