On the 26st of November during an informational forum the executive director of “For our children” foundation Ivanka Shalapatova and Kalina Ilieva from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences presented the results from the research “A look towards the invisible children in Plovdiv” made in collaboration with the “Institute for Population and Human Research” at BAS.
The research has a goal to analyze the services for early childhood development in Plovdiv and the stage in which they answer the children with problems in the development`s needs. The research showed the main problems in the services of for early childhood development in Plovdiv. Among them are the lack of data for children with problems in the development in an early age, deficiency of specialized services in the community, which can support children with disabilities and delay in the development and their families as well as the lack of qualified specialists for work with children at an early age.
The results from the research show that despite the free access to healthcare for all children, around 10% of the children in the most vulnerable age from 0 to 3 aren`t ranged from pediatricians and general practitioners. That impedes the adequate tracing of early childhood development as well as the appliance of early childhood intervention during the first symptoms of a delayed development or deficits in the child.
The research shows that due to the lack of qualified staff like pedagogues, speech therapists, therapists and psychologists, the children with disabilities and difficulties in the development remain outside the educational system. In the researched kindergartens, an almost full lack of children with disabilities and problems in the development is witnessed.
Ivanka Shalapatova underlined that the period between 0 and 3 is extremely important for the child`s development and the appliance of early childhood intervention by qualified specialists during that time is extremely important.
Besides showing the problem areas in the services for children difficulties in the development, the made research directs recommendations for improving the policies and practices regarding early childhood intervention as well as the widening the network of the socially integrated services in support of children with disabilities and difficulties in the development aged 0 to 3 and more specifically specialized services for early childhood intervention and therapeutic needs.
On the informational meeting present were representors form local organizations, providing social services, representors from the state structures, health and educational specialists.
Veselina Boteva, director of “Social policy” in Plovdiv municipality thanked “For our children” foundation for the research and underlined its key role in the development of future policies and strategies for social services in Plovdiv municipality.
In the frames of the informational meeting, Mariana Kostadinova, manager “Social work” from the Community support center “For children and parents” Plovdiv presented the three new integrated services for children at risk which the foundation opens in the territory of eight municipalities around the city of Plovdiv including in the municipalities’ center.
The informational forum ended the discussion on the subject of building a common mechanism, which will encourage all professionals, and social service delivers to work in partnership. The participants in the forum commented the need of developing and introduction of a united policy for early childhood development in the Plovdiv municipality.