ESN launches a new working group

Is the placement of vulnerable people (such as children, elderly or the mentally ill) in institutions an optimal model of care for contemporary European societies? Is the provision of shelter, basic living needs and medical care enough to empower residents in need of care/support in local communities?

These constitute some of the questions raised by ESN members during the Warsaw seminar and by the ESN survey on Community Care (see results). Despite the many question marks outlined during this introductory session, there was general consensus on the following: local public social services should recognise the value of community care and thereby commit to a care approach based on personalization and normalisation.

Responding to its members’ request for more sharing of experiences, ESN launched its new policy & practice group on Developing Community Care. Among all of those who expressed their interest, 9 ESN membershave been selected on the basis of their expertise, knowledge of issues and a strong commitment to raise awareness among their peers.

The group has met for the first time for two days in Brighton in September to discuss the values of community-based services and to reflect whether there circumstances under which the institutional care can be good. On the second day, the group visited Southdown Housing Association to learn how people with intellectual disabilities receive individual packages of care, live in community and even go to work.

The forthcoming meeting of the group will take place in Bulgaria in December. On the ‘process’ side, the members will focus on the agenda of individualization and normalization whereas on the ‘practice’ side the debate will be focused on children in care.