The project provided unique opportunity to improve the accessibility and efficiency of social support services for guardians and foster and adoptive parents in two neighbouring regions: Zemgale in Latvia and Šauliai in Lithuania. It strengthened the ability of many guardians, foster and adoptive parents to protect and nurture very vulnerable children who have lost care of their biological parents.
The project also encouraged new co-operations – both on local level (between municipalities and NGOs in respective countries) as well as on international level – between people of Latvia and Lithuania and between two NGOs working in social sector with vulnerable children and families with children – SOS Children’s Villages in both countries.
During the project, Child’s Individual Development Plan (CIDP) and a Foster Family (Guardian/Adoptive Family) Development Plan (FFDP) were developed. These documents provide information on the structure, purpose and need for improvement of the established plans, as well as give recommendations for out-of-family care support for children and their care givers.
LPF “SOS Children’s Villages in Lithuania” and social partners in Lithuania
During the implementation of the project, assistance became available to guardians and adoptive parents living in remote rural areas in Pakruojis and Šiauliai districts. The project not only provided timely and accessible assistance to caregivers, but also brought together caregivers and adoptive parents to share their experience by participating in trainings. But Municipal Care Center coordinators of Šiauliai and Pakruojis districts could enrich their knowledge in Bauska and Vecumnieki municipalities of Latvia.
During the implementation of the project, 100 foster families were visited, 60 FFDP plans and 48 CIDP were drawn up. Since the beginning of the project, a total of 415 hours of individual psychologist consultations, 170 hours of special pedagogical consultations and 310 hours of individual speech therapy consultations were provided for the families of guardians and adoptive parents and their children in Šiauliai county.
In order to increase the quality of services for guardians and adoptive parents, 16 specialists providing services to socially vulnerable children and their families and guardians and adoptive parents in municipalities had the opportunity to improve knowledge and skills in assessing the individual needs of the child and his / her family and guardians and adoptive parents.
Association “SOS Children’s Villages Latvia” and social partners in Latvia
Support of project’s team – social worker and psychologist, as well as several specialists – was available for guardians, foster and adoptive parents living in Bauska, Iecava, Rundāle and Vecumnieki municipalities. 100 questionnaires for identification of situation and needed support were acquired; 72 FFDP plans and 40 CIDP were drawn up and implemented, providing necessary assistance for children and their carers.
36 parents were trained according to pre-service module of internationally acknowledged PRIDE methodology (“Parent Recourses for Information, Development and Education”) and 36 could get new knowledge at trainings of in-service modules. The first one is an initial training for potential foster parents or guardians, giving most essential knowledge before a child is welcomed in the family, while the second training is for people who are already caring about a child. 16 representatives of 4 municipalities could enrich their knowledge and skills about assessing the individual needs of the child and his / her family and guardians and adoptive parents in trainings according “PRIDE” methodology. As well as representatives of local social departments and orphans’ courts could take part in two experience exchange visits in Lithuania.
Families and children could also experience great time together taking part in summer activities “My and your summer” and “Let us go in nature!” in summer 2019.
Very interesting and useful was possibility of experience exchange not only between project’s teams and specialists from both countries, but also for foster, guardian, and adoptive families themselves – thus 40 carers from Latvia visited Lithuania in September 2018 and the same number of carers from Lithuania were welcomed in Bauska in May 2019.
The visits created lots of positive emotions!
At the end of the project, methodological recommendations have been prepared in 3 languages (LT, LV, EN) on the provision of social support services, accessibility, efficiency for foster and adoptive families. (Please find the documents here: https://www.sosbernuciemati.lv/lv/par-mums/informativie-materiali under chapter “Ārpusģimenes aprūpe”)
The project results are used by social partners (Siauliai district and Pakruojis district municipalities in Lithuania, as well as Bauska, Iecava, Rundāle and Vecumnieki municipalities in Latvia).
SOS Children Villages in Lithuania continue to consult partners and provide recommendations, as well as to provide services in Klaipeda, Siauliai and Vilnius municipalities (https://sos-vaikukaimai.lt/kontaktai/ ).
SOS Children Villages in Latvia continue cooperation with social services and orphan courts of the municipalities, as well as continue provision of services to guardians, foster and adoptive parents at SOS Zemgale Out-of-family Care Support Centre “Airi vecākiem”, as well as in four more such centres in Latvia, sharing the gained experience (https://www.sosbernuciemati.lv/lv/par-mums/kontakti ).