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 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.

Europe is now negotiating the future budget for 2021-2027. The EEG is actively advocating for ensuring that investment will support deinstitutionalisation reforms that access to funding will be made conditional to promote the shift from institutional to community-based care and to strengthen involvement of all stakeholders, including civil society in the programming of the interventions from the Structural and Investment Funds.

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. With the S.H.I.F.T. Guide on a meaningful inclusion for persons with disabilities and their families, we suggested 45 actions and 15 tools in the areas of support, human rights, independence, families and society transition.

EEG Key resources

Checklist to ensure EU-funded measures contribute to independent living by developing and ensuring access to family-based and community-based services (2019)

Reflections on the 2019 European Semester: Country Specific Recommendations (2019)

First reactions to the proposed regulations for the European Social Fund+, the European Regional Development Fund and the Common Provisions Regulation for the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework (2018)

Statement on the post-2020 regulations for EU funding (2018)

Investment in community-based services is a must to make the European Pillar of Social Rights real (2018)

EEG response to the Council Conclusions on “Enhancing Community-Based Support and Care for Independent Living” (2018)

COFACE Key resources

COFACE Families Europe response to the public consultation: reviewing the Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (October 2019)

S.H.I.F.T. – A guide to shift towards meaningful inclusion of persons with disabilities and their families EN, FR, PT, ES (November 2019)

Long-term care: the family dimension. Key recommendations from COFACE Families Europe to shape long-term care systems for and with families (2018)

European Charter for Family Carers EN/FR (updated in March 2017)

‘Who cares? Study on the challenges and needs of family carers in Europe’ EN/FR (2017)

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