Seven years ago, Hope and Homes for Children and Eurochild founded the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign: a partnership with civil society organisations dedicated to strengthening families and ending institutional care in Europe. Today, at an event in Brussels, we mark the end of the campaign and celebrate its achievements.
Opening Doors brought together five major international organisations (Hope and Homes for Children, Eurochild, International Foster Care Organisation, the European branch of the International Federation of Educative Communities, and SOS Children’s Villages International) and 120 organisations from 16 European countries.
Thanks to the broad local expertise gathered by the campaign, we advocated for child protection systems that strengthen families, and ensure family and community-based care for children. The campaign ran in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Spain, and Ukraine.
“It is Europe’s shame that some of our most vulnerable children are placed in so-called ‘care’ settings that do more harm than good.”
Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild
At today’s event in Brussels we will reflect on the campaign’s main achievements and developments:
- Every year, Opening Doors assisted national and European policy makers with country factsheets highlighting the main trends and presenting recommendations. Among others, the factsheets have observed more and better family-based care options for children unable to grow up with their families of origin.
- The campaign encouraged countries across Europe to adopt tailor-made strategies or action plans to shift away from the use of institutions. Comprehensive child protection reforms are currently being implemented in Bulgaria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine with the support of the national strategic frameworks on deinstitutionalisation.
- Country Reports, released by the European Commission at the beginning of 2019, highlight some important analysis of deinstitutionalisation in EU Member States, and furthermore in all EU campaign countries ending institutionalisation or where inclusive education is prioritised for the 2021–27 EU funds period.
- Along with other organisations, Opening Doors advocated to ensure that the new EU funds regulations for the 2021–2027 period support actions to end institutional care. In part, thanks to our efforts, the Commission proposals were extremely encouraging, but the job is not yet done since the negotiations are still ongoing.
- International and national partners will continue advocacy thanks to the strong capacity building efforts during the campaign.
Together with our partners, during this event, we will explore recommendations for the future national policymaking and EU. This is even more pressing, as the negotiations on the priorities for EU funds programmes for 2021–2027 are happening this year.
“The Opening Doors campaign showed what can be achieved when we join efforts. But let’s not forget that many children continue to live in harmful institutions and are at risk of being separated from their families. As the new EU leadership settles in their roles, we all need to step up our efforts to ensure families can stay together and that all children receive the individualised care they need and deserve.”Michela Costa, Head of Global Advocacy, Hope and Homes for Children
“Children are Europe’s greatest resource. It is Europe’s shame that some of our most vulnerable children are placed in so-called ‘care’ settings that do more harm than good. Important progress has been made but our work is far from over. We must learn lessons from the past and keep the pressure on the EU and national governments until every child gets the individualised care they deserve, and need to thrive.”Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild
Hope and Homes for Children will continue to work in collaboration with our partners, to defend children’s rights and a world where no child suffers institutional care. For more details, we invite you to read the final Opening Doors for Europe’s Children report, available at this link.
“As the new EU leadership settles in their roles, we all need to step up our efforts”Michela Costa, Head of Global Advocacy, Hope and Homes for Children
This work is supported by Clifford Chance