How can the EU promote family-based care and independent living? 10 December 2014 - European Parliament

Upcoming event: From institutional care to life in the community

How can the EU promote family-based care and independent living?
10 December 2014 | 16.00-18.00
European ParliamentBrussels roomPHS 1A002

Hasan Bermek, Adviser to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
Andriana Sukova-Tosheva, Director, EC, DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
Michael Ralph, Adviser, EC, DG for Regional and Urban Policy
Maria Luisa Cabral, Head of Unit, EC, Rights of persons with disabilities
Danute Jasjko, Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
as well as representatives of the European Commission, EU Member States, service providers, users and civil society.

Across the European Union, hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities, people with mental health problems, older people or abandoned and vulnerable children live in large segregating residential institutions. Such institutions were originally created to provide care, food and shelter, but by now evidence has shown that they cannot ensure person-centred services and appropriate support to bring about full inclusion. The physical separation from communities and families severely limits the capacity and preparedness of those living in or growing up in institutions to participate fully in their community and wider society.

The debate will focus on how the new European Commission and European Parliament could support reforms aimed at the transition from institutional to community-based care in line with the international human rights standards, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Fundamental Rights Charter.

The family standpoint on deinstitutionalisation of people with disabilities

COFACE is actively working on this in the Ad Hoc Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care. This group of independent experts was convened by Commissioner Špidla (former European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities) in February 2009 to look at the whole complex of issues around the reform of institutional care – i.e., Deinstitutionalisation (D-I).

The experts based their work on a strong commitment to foundational human rights and social inclusion, and a cross-cutting approach for people of all ages and conditions: elderly people, children, and people with disabilities, including people affected by mental illness.

At present, the group is working on developing common Europe-wide guidelines for the transition from institutional care to community-based care and is continuing to provide realistic advice on how to achieve the de-institutionalisation process (and what not to do) distilled from the experience of those Member States where such reforms have already been implemented.

COFACE’s input has focused chiefly on the recognition of holistic support to families and family carers as key policies for successful and sustainable deinstitutionalization.

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