Government representatives, experts and professionals from the Baltic Sea Region; Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the UK endorsed in principle the Tallinn Recommendations and Action Plan on Alternative Care and Family Support for the Baltic Sea Region on the 6th of May 2015 in Tallinn.

The Recommendations and Action Plan were endorsed after a two-day meeting discussing the situation of alternative care and family support in the region. The participating experts highlighted the urgency of integrated services with a low-threshold for children and families at risk ensuring timely and tailor-made support and the immediate and long-term interventions and follow-up of children at risk. The experts underlined the crucial importance of implementing policies and good practices at national level and increased regional cooperation.  Investing in children’s safety, well-being and development today is a condition for a safe and secure region as well as a sustainable and prosperous society.

The Estonian Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs and the CBSS Expert Group for Cooperation on Children at Risk (EGCC) hosted the expert level meeting. Alternative care has been a particularly important priority for the Expert Group for Cooperation on Children at Risk since its inception in the late 1990s. The purpose of the 2015 expert meeting was to assess and discuss the present situation of institutional and family based care, achievements and challenges. A comprehensive study was prepared for the meeting, and the speakers’ expertise and knowledge as well as the discussions brought forward many relevant recommendations and comments.

Recommendations and reports

The Tallinn Recommendations and Action Plan on Alternative Care and Family Support 2015-2020

Family Support and Alternative Care – The Baltic Sea States Regional Report 2015

Family Support and Alternative Care in the Baltic Sea Region: Background Paper

Key meeting documents

Meeting report 

Speaker Biographies 

Participants list

Agenda and Presentations

Official Opening
Moderator: Ms Anniki Lai, Head of Department, Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs. Chair of the Expert Group for Coordination on Children at Risk

Mr. Margus Tsahkna, Minister of Social Protection, Estonia
Mr. Bragi Guðbrandsson, General Director of the Government Agency for Child Protection, Iceland. Member of the Expert Group for Coordination on Children at Risk and Chair of the Lanzarote Convention
Ms Margaret Tuite, Commission Coordinator for the Rights of the Child, European Commission and the Reflection Paper for the 9th European Forum on the rights of the child Coordination and cooperation in integrated child protection systems
Ms Regina Jensdottir, Head of Children’s Right’s Division, Council of Europe
Mr. Peter Newell, Coordinator, Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children

Progress and Challenges in Alternative Care in the Baltic Sea Region
Moderator:  Ms Turid Heiberg, Head of Children’s Unit, CBSS Secretariat

Presentation of Regional Report on Alternative Care and Family Support
Ms Daja Wenke, Researcher and Child Rights Expert, Italy

Presentation of draft Tallinn Recommendations & Action Plan
Ms Anniki Lai, Head of Department, Ministry of Social Affairs, Estonia

Theme 1:  Preventing Family Separation
Moderator: Mr. Bragi Guðbrandsson, General Director of the Government Agency for Child Protection; Iceland

Presentation of the care frameworks in Norway and Poland
Speaker: Ms Eli Ferrari de Carli, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, Norway
Speaker: Ms Katarzyna Napiórkowska, Head of Unit, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Poland

Ensuring tailor-made community support to children and families with different situations and backgrounds
Speaker: Dr. Willy-Tore Mørch, Professor, University of Tromsø, Norway
Speaker: Sir Roger Singleton, Managing Director, LUMOS, UK

Investing in children: How do we ensure social inclusion and improve outcomes for children?
Speaker: Dr. Terje Ogden, Professor at the University of Oslo and Research Director at the Norwegian Center for Child Behavioral Development, Norway

Theme 2:  Transition from institutional to family-based care
Moderator:  Mr. Lauris Neikens, Senior Expert, Ministry of Welfare, Latvia

Defining “Deinstitutionalisation” – principles, approaches and practice
Speaker: Mr. Zsolt Bugarszki, Lecturer, University of Tallinn, Estonia
Speaker: Ms Rūta Pabedinskienė, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Social Security and Labour, Lithuania

Opportunities for quality foster care or other forms of family based care
Speaker: Mr Niels Peter Rygaard, Psychologist. Independent Consultant and Adoption Consultant for the Danish State Department, Socialstyrelsen. Founder of www.fairstartglobal.com

Aging out of family based care – Ensuring follow up for young people after they turn 18 or 21
Speaker: Ms Anne-Kirstine Mølholt, Teacher, Aalborg University, Denmark

Theme 3:  Safeguarding children’s rights in alternative care
Moderator:  Ms Gerison Lansdown, Child Rights Expert, UK

Children’s right to take part in decisions that affect them and to access complaint mechanisms
Speaker: Ms Gerison Lansdown, Child Rights Expert, UK
Speaker: Ms Julia Kovalenko-Djagileva, Child Rights Advisor, SOS Children´s Villages, Estonia

Preventing violence and making alternative care safe
Speaker: Mr. Peter Newell, Coordinator, Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children
Speaker: Ms Beata Kulig, Board Member, Polish Foster Care Coalition, Poland

Discussing and Endorsing the Tallinn Recommendation and Action Plan on Alternative Care and Family Support
Moderator:  Mr. Rait Kuuse, Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Social Affairs, Estonia

 Slideshow from the event

 

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