Croatia's Ministry of Labor, Pension System, Family and Social Policy and the World Bank have launched the technical assistance project Transition from Institutional to Community-Based Care for Children, Youth and Persons with Disabilities in Croatia.
In Croatia, there are still 6,586 people with disabilities, children and youth who utilize an institutional form of care, and who need the opportunity to be included into the community with adequate support provided. The concept of deinstitutionalization and prevention of institutionalization is to transform existing residential social welfare institutions by providing various forms of non-institutional services needed by beneficiaries in order to achieve a greater degree of their inclusion in the community life.
Institutional care is characterized by depersonalization, rigidity of routine, group treatment and social distancing. All of this speaks in favor of deinstitutionalization as a better alternative to the institutional environment for the majority of vulnerable groups, especially children.
The project will provide support to social welfare homes in the deinstitutionalization of persons with disabilities, children and youth through technical assistance by developing individual transformation plans for 38 state run residential institutions. The project also plans to establish an IT system for monitoring the deinstitutionalization process. The project will be implemented over a period of two years, and is co-financed by the European Union's (EU's) European Social Fund Plus (ESF+).
Best practices of deinstitutionalization in Croatia were presented at the conference, as were the experiences of persons who transitioned out of institutions and integrated into the community and are now living independently.