COFACE Families Europe is founding member of the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG), which was convened by Commissioner Špidla (former European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities) in February 2009. The EEG is a broad coalition gathering stakeholders representing people with care or support needs and their families, including children, persons with disabilities, homeless people, people experiencing mental health problems; as well as service providers, public authorities and intergovernmental organisations.

The Group’s mission is to promote person-centred, quality and empowering models of services and formal and informal care that fully respect the human rights of all people with care or support needs. The Group supports national efforts to implement the necessary reforms, in compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (in particularly with Article 19), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Charter for Fundamental Rights.

The Group has developed the Common European Guidelines on the Transition from Institutional to Community Based Care and a Toolkit on the Use of European Union Funds for the Transition from Institutional to Community Based Care (last updated in 2014). These two key documents provide the framework for the work of the Expert Group and offer Member States guidance on how to carry out a sustainable deinstitutionalisation process and how EU funds can support national, regional and local authorities in designing and implementing structural reforms. Deinstitutionalisation is not only about closing down large-scale residential institutions, where human rights violation often occurs, but refers to the whole process of developing a range of services in the community, including prevention, in order to eliminate the need for institutional care.

COFACE Families Europe’s expertise lies in bringing the family perspective to DI and advocate for holistic support to families in order to avoid institutionalisation of children, or other relatives with support needs. For a successful and sustainable DI process, we want Member States to ensure investment in the development of high-quality community-based services and along this process, to recognise the social rights and benefits for family carers, as well as providing them with adequate work-life balance policies.


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