Lumos has started working in Greece, where an estimated 3,000 children and young people, including children with disabilities, live in around 85 privately and publically funded residential institutions. In partnership with the Institute of Child Health (ICH) - a governmental research institute under the auspices of Greek Ministry of Health - Lumos’ aim is to build awareness of the need for reform of the child protection system away from institutions and towards community-based social services and family-like child care placements. Lumos is also working to build a coalition of NGOs and civil society organisations to support professionals and policy makers in the reform process.
Lumos has conducted a strategic review of child residential care in Greece and interviewed staff in seven different institutions of different type and legal status, including a baby institution, institution for children with disabilities and a church-run institution. Lumos shared this work with senior governmental and non-governmental Hellenic child protection organisations at an event in Athens in January 2016.
In 2014, international and national media reports featured disturbing cases of children in caged beds in Greek children’s homes. Several studies have demonstrated that in Greece children removed from a family environment are mostly placed in residential institutions, which are generally larger than the EU average, for prolonged periods, with low rates of reunification with their birth families. Foster care is underdeveloped as an alternative to institutionalisation.
Greece has undergone a financial crisis but, as an EU state, it is entitled to use Structural and Investment Funds to support the development of community-based services that help keep families together. Lumos has considerable expertise in providing technical assistance to other countries in using EU resources to support reform.
An estimated 3,000 children and young people, including children with disabilities, live in around 85 privately and publically funded residential institutions in Greece.
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