“Free our people, end institutionalisation!”
Nov 2012

It is with this powerful sentence that a representative of the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG) – of which COFACE is member – closed the launch event of a set of key guidelines on how to make a sustained transition from institutional care to family-based and community-based alternatives for children, persons with disabilities, persons with mental health problems and older persons and the Toolkit on the use of EU funding to support this process.

More than one million children and adults live in institutions across Europe and numerous reports have highlighted human rights concerns and have drawn public attention to the appalling treatment and living conditions endured by the residents. For these reasons, the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care, formerly known as the Ad Hoc Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care, was convened in February 2009 by the then Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Vladimir Špidla in order to address the issues of institutional care reform in the European Union.

At the launch several representatives of Member States and the European Commission highlighted how the Guidelines and the Toolkit would be a concrete tool that would support the achievement of the fundamental and human rights of children, persons with disabilities and their families.

Right to grow up in a family, participation and support for families in the prevention of institutionalisation and in the setting up of community and family based services are among the key elements that COFACE stressed during these years of work. These results would have not been possible without the commitment of many people across Europe and, in particular, the secretariat would like to thank the members of COFACE-Disability that made this success possible.

The Guidelines and the Toolkit are currently in English but soon they will be available in several languages. You can download them from the COFACE website or on:www.deinstitutionalisationguide.eu


COFACE calls to uphold ex-ante conditionalities relevant to the Structural Funds’ support of community-based alternatives to institutional care

COFACE calls to uphold ex-ante conditionalities relevant to the Structural Funds’ support of community-based alternatives to institutional care   The European Expert Group on Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG) – whose members are nine European non governmental organisations active in the field of social inclusion, non discrimination and fundamental rights, the European Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNICEF – is advocating for Structural Funds to facilitate the social inclusion of children, persons with disabilities – including intellectual or psycosocial disabilities – and older persons, and their access to quality social and health care services in the community, as an alternative to the care provided in segregating residential settings.

COFACE and the EEG have welcomed the inclusion of “transition from institutional to community-based care” within the scope of the European Commission proposals for the new EU cohesion policy 2014-2020. In particular, we have welcomed the thematic ex ante conditionality regarding the objective “promoting social inclusion and combating poverty”, which foreseen that the national strategies for poverty reduction should include measures for the shift from residential to community based care; as well as the general ex ante conditionality requiring the effective implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

For this reason, COFACE, together with the European Expert Group on Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG) has addressed a letter to Members of the European Parliament and to the Council of the EU to call for the uphold of the ex-ante conditionalities relevant to the Structural Funds’ support of community-based alternatives to institutional care for children, persons with disabilities – including intellectual or psychosocial disabilities – and older persons.

To read the full letter, click here