The factors, which determine the possibility for establishing better policies for the children in an early age, were presented during the conference “Early child development: science and practice” the executive director of Foundation “For our children” Ivanka Shalapatova, the expert from the foundation Tzveta Nedeva and Tatiana Kotzeva from the Institute for population and human studies. The three of them are part of the team which made the study “A look towards the invisible children in Plovdiv” which analyzes the service for early child development in Plovdiv and the stage in which they answer to the child`s needs with problems in the development or at risk from developing such problems and their families.
The results from the study and the recommendations it sends were discussed in the context of the National study of systems supporting early child development of the interconnections and interaction between them and the parents in the panel “From proof to policy for early childhood” moderated from the deputy executive director Mariana Taseva.
The data from Plovdiv confirm the result from the national study according to which 1/3 of the of the women who gave birth and are not health insured and haven`t visited a doctor while pregnant not once before giving birth and for those who are health insured there is a lack of data from the tracking of the pregnancy.
The reasons for the illness and dying of children aged 1 to 4 haven`t been studied and data for the status of the families – economic, social, educational in order for a an effective prevention to be made are missing.
Despite the reglemented right of a free access to health care for children around 10% in the most vulnerable children aged from 0 to 3 pediatrics and general practitioners are not included.
Bulgaria is seriously falling behind from accomplishing the goals of the European Union on the mark of range of children aged 0 to 3 in the services for early child education and care which is 33%.
Main recommendations both studies brought out are for:
-developing standards for children`s growth aged 3-7 and including them in the practice;
-creating programs for supporting families in the care for the child`s health and educational practices in the family for accomplishing responsible parental behavior for supporting the child`s growth;
-optimizing the system for child protection in order to support the biological families and prevent the separation of children from their families.
Before the participants in the two day forum the organization`s work on the program Early child intervention and the effect it has on children was presented. Early child development and early intervention are among the main priorities of the foundation and we are working for improving the policies and services for that.
The conference was organized from the Research center for cognitive science and the Know-How center for alternative child care at the New Bulgarian University in partnership with UNICEF Bulgaria, the Trust for social alternative and the Foundation “For our children”. In two consecutive days more than 100 participants discussed scientific researches, new practices and questions connected with the care for children at an early age.
The importance of increasing the scientific researches in the area of the early child development, working on policies based on proof consulted with the widest range of interested sides as well as including the parents as rightful of the professionals in child`s care.
Among the lectors were leading international experts, Bulgarian scientists, professionals and representors of state institutions.