Improving access to community-based early years and pre-school support services for vulnerable children with special needs in Moldova

1/1/2016 — 1/1/2019

The project purpose

The overall objective of the proposed action is to improve access to community-based early years and preschool support services for vulnerable children with special needs (CWSN) in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The action focuses on CWSN and their families because the support services currently available in Moldova are inconsistent and do not address the full range of their needs.

At the core of the action is the drive to provide CWSN with the best possible start in life and to foster positive outcomes across the life course. The overall objective will be achieved in three ways, operating at various levels by:

  • Enabling the actors involved in planning and advocating for early years and preschool support services for CWSN to work more effectively together, and work more strongly as independent champions of open access to inclusive preschool education;
  • Strengthening the capacity of key professionals working with CWSN within Local Authorities (LAs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), to facilitate access to preschool and early years support services and;
  • Improving support for vulnerable parents and carers of CWSN in the community to enable them to more optimally care for and meet the needs of their children.

Facilitating linkages between LAs, key professionals, and parents/carers of CWSN — spanning both the community and educational settings — will create an enabling environment in which parents/carers of CWSN have the ability and knowledge to access the services they need. Targeting the needs of CWSN both in the community and in schools will ensure they have the best opportunity to develop their full potential to attend primary school at the age of seven, along with their peers.

Underpinning the overall objective, the key specific objectives are designed to:

  1. Strengthen the capacity of and cooperation between LAs and CSOs working with CWSN, enabling them to better facilitate access to early years and preschool support services
  2. Develop and test a model for community-based early years and pre-school support for CWSNs, along with the capacity needed to roll it out nationally if found to be successful.

The action will build the technical and collaborative working capacity of key target groups, including professional staff from LAs and CSOs, kindergarten teachers and administrators, parents, and the general public. It will provide them with knowledge and understanding of the needs and rights of young vulnerable CWSN, the importance of inclusive education during the early years period, barriers faced by CWSN as well as their parents and carers, and practical skills to support CWSN and their families. The action will also engage the media in order to challenge stigma around disability and to raise awareness and understanding of the needs of CWSN in the wider community.

Support and education programs that will be developed within the project:

  • Music Therapy – a program of communication through music;
  • Portage – home care and education support service for families with children who have special needs;
  • Mellow Parenting – course of therapy for parental skills development and strengthening of relations between parents and children, based on theory of attachment.

During this project, a national-level communication program – Makaton – will be developed, involving the use of signs and symbols to help people communication. This will be integrated as a work tool for all actors involved in the education of children who have speech and communication difficulties.

Cost of the action — 680,000 euro

Project Donors:

  • European Union

Implementing party:

  • Partnerships for Every Child
  • Mellow Parenting
  • HealthProm from Great Britain