Over €2.7 billion of European Union funds have been redirected away from harmful institutions such as orphanages, but the latest report prepared by the Community Living for Europe: Structural Funds Watch shows how Member States need to go further to transition from outdated care systems towards community-based living.
The report, titled Inclusion for All: Achievements and Challenges in Using EU Funds to Support Community Living, outlines to what extent 12 EU Member States* have adopted strategies or action plans to shift away from institutions for children, adults with disabilities and older people.
The report shows that eight of the 12 Member States have adopted strategies or action plans to shift away from institutions, while two are in the process of adopting them.
The strategies have been translated into concrete action, and ESIF have been used to support the development or delivery of community-based services that can help end institutionalisation.
Actions to support the transition from institutions to community-based living include day care centres, home-based care and respite centres for children, care for adults with disabilities and older people, community mental health support and assistive technologies to support independent living and employment.
However, the report also highlights concerns that countries are reorganising institutional care by restructuring and repurposing institutional buildings or creating smaller institutions, such as group homes.
Several States have placed seemingly arbitrary caps of between eight and 30 residents on group homes. Apart from the reduction in size, it is unclear what – if any – measures are being taken to ensure residents will enjoy their human rights on an equal basis with others.
High levels of investment in smaller-scale models of institutional care will be an obstacle to further reform and continue to deny people their rights.
Other concerns have arisen in relation to groups such as refugees and asylum seekers, who are held in settings which have all the characteristics of an institution but are usually not covered by transition strategies.
In the remainder of this programming period and in the next, CLE:SFW recommends that countries focus on the development of quality family and community-based services, inclusive education, community-based health care that is fully inclusive and accessible, strengthening the economy and ensuring full access to inclusive employment services and supported independent living.
Read the full report here.