On 15th March – Thursday, “For Our Children” Foundation organizes a conference “Vision for Early Childhood in Bulgaria”. The forum is under the auspices of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mrs. Maya Manolova, and will be held at 9.30 am in the Opal Hall of Hotel Ramada.
The results of a large-scale study “Early Childhood Development in Bulgaria” on the impact of health, social and educational systems on childcare at the earliest age (0-7 years) and their safety will be presented at the forum. The study was carried out by the “For Our Children” Foundation together with the “Child and Space” Association and the Institute for Population and Human Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
The study explores the interaction and co-operation of the three systems and the extent to which they work together to support child development in early childhood care services /nursery schools, hospitals, kindergartens, social services and others/. The practical implementation of the family-oriented approach in the work of the providers of state-sponsored child care has been explored. Subject of the study was also whether the health, social and educational systems use mechanisms to involve the parents, whether the parents feel supported in caring for their children, and the place of system-parent interaction. The care of children with special needs at an early age is examined, as well as the extent to which the state measures for their inclusion are effective, what needs to be changed in the organization and functioning of the systems so that children can develop and their parents be encouraged and supported to take the best care of their children. Participants in the conference will discuss the study’s key recommendations for improvement of the performance of childcare systems in order to support the ongoing process of developing a national early child development strategy.
The role of the early childhood education and care policies in the European Union will be presented by Mrs. Nora Milotai – political analyst at the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), who works on European social policy issues.
The integrated systems and early childhood development services in Serbia will be presented by Prof. Veronika Espanovic – member of the National Council on the Rights of the Child and of the working groups that have developed the National Program for Promoting Early Childhood Development and the National Strategy on Violence against Children in Serbia.
Among the participants of the conference will be the Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy Rositsa Dimitrova, the Deputy Minister of Education Denitsa Sacheva, the Deputy Minister of Healthcare Boyko Penkov, the UNICEF Representative for Bulgaria Maria Jesus Conde, the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus H. E. Stavros Avgoustides, the Ambassador of Great Britain H. E. Emma Hopkins, the Ambassador Israel H. E. Irit Lillian, the Ambassador of Denmark H. E. Soren Jakobsen, the Ambassador of Indonesia H. E. Sri Astari Rasjid.
More than 150 representatives of national and local authorities, the academic community, international experts, professional and non-governmental organizations and personalities engaged in the topic of early childhood development and its importance in achieving a stable and prosperous society will take part in the discussions.
“For Our Children” Foundation advocates adopting a national strategy for early childhood development. Since April 2016, the Foundation has been implementing the Early Childhood Care project funded by the OAK Foundation, whose primary goal is to improve the development and well-being of early childhood (0-7) by introducing an integrated health-social approach to caring for them. The aim is to support, through research and advocacy activities as well as direct field work, the improvement of policy and practice on early child development in health, social and educational systems.