Following a United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs open call for oral and written statements issued earlier this year for the 2018 session of the ECOSOC High-Level Segment (HLS) for NGOs, on the topic “From global to local: supporting sustainable and resilient societies in urban and rural communities”, COFACE Families Europe submitted a Written Statement to highlight the role of community-based services to support sustainable and resilient societies.
The HLS was held from 16 to 19 July 2018 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This is a unique opportunity for organizations in consultative status with ECOSOC – and for civil society at large – to be heard at ECOSOC deliberations, as well as to contribute to issues of critical concern to the global development agenda. It also provides a platform to address specifically, steps toward implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to track progress at all levels and ensure that no one is left behind.
In the short Written Statement, COFACE notes with concern the lack of adequate, accessible, community-based support services for persons with disabilities and with other support needs in most EU Member States, with special regard to person-centred schemes, like personal budget, or personal assistance. In some countries, there have been major cuts on personal assistance services due to the 2008 economic crisis and the recession. Family members are often filling the gap of social service provision, however, relying on their unpaid workforce is not a sustainable solution to create inclusive and prosperous societies in Europe. There is also a strong gender dimension: the results of our 2017 stocktaking study showed that two thirds of family carers are women. The lack of accessible care services for children, older persons, persons with complex needs, or with chronic illness often hinders the labour market inclusion of family carers. Furthermore, family carers are left without financial, or social recognition, social insurance, pension scheme, or real opportunities to return to the labour market.
In-home support services, in-home nursing care, respite, or personal assistance are preferred forms of support service provision by family carers and by their relatives with support needs. Members of COFACE Families Europe consider that the availability of such services would relieve family carers from the intensive care responsibilities and would ensure that their relatives can live independently in the community while receiving high-quality support. We expect the EU to continue investment in the transition from institutional care to community-based services across Member States in the next funding period 2021–2027.
See all COFACE Written Statements to the UN here: