A social service standard to support young people leaving care
One of the main goals and activities of the project was the development of Standard for social service to support young people leaving care in Bulgaria.
SOS Children's Villages Bulgaria has been providing support for youths in SOS care since 2004 through the Start of Independent Life Program and has expert knowledge of the characteristics of the target group and the changes in them that occur after the de-institutionalization process began in Bulgaria.
Through the "Pathways to Freedom" project, we managed to develop a single Standard for such a social service, which we presented at the Final Conference and which we proposed to the Bulgarian government with a call for the introduction of this service into legislation.
You can download the Standard via the button below /only available in Bulgarian language at the moment/:
Basic principles and approaches
The main approach in planning and implementing the service is the individual one. Its implementation implies, on the one hand, clear planning based on identified needs at the individual level, and on the other, the provision of an individual package of services and support measures.
Another approach to implementing the program is the systemic one. It is implemented through the planning of measures and services in a system leading to a common goal, namely increasing the possibilities for independent living and facilitating the transition from alternative care to the community. This approach is essential in relation to the complementary nature of the support and the achievement of synchronization between the available resources and other services that the young person uses.
An integrated approach
The integrated approach is applied in relation to the need to synchronize activities between the program and support from other sectors, namely employment, education and health. In this sense, the role of the program is to carry out mediation and advocacy activities, to support young people in their access to services and the exercise of rights.
The main principle in providing support is the principle of participation and responsibility. Each young person actively participates in the contract process, stating and motivating their needs in terms of socio-psychological support, a place to live, health, education, finding and keeping a job, legal services, etc. The young person assists in making a social assessment of their needs, provides information and participates in the identification of needs and resources. The participation is at the consultative level and at the decision-making level in the development of the individual plan. The young person plans the resources available and the additional support needed to achieve independence. Achieving a high level of participation is also guaranteed by the distribution of responsibilities within the planned activities, with an essential part of them being the responsibility of the young person.
Service quality standards in the program
The service quality standards in the program are organized around several areas, namely:
rights of young people leaving alternative care,
participation and empowerment, effectiveness of the support provided and competence,
leadership and management.
In each area, a list of standards, 12 in total, is proposed, as well as indicators of achievement. The proposed standards are basic and do not cancel, but supplement the national quality standards in Information and consulting, Mediation and advocacy services
Every child and youth who leaves the alternative care system has the right to receive support in order to facilitate social integration
Every child and young person leaving the alternative care system has a choice of the type of support they can receive
Children and young people leaving the alternative care system are treated with dignity and respect
Children and young people leaving the alternative care system participate in needs assessment and support planning
Children and young people leaving the system of alternative care participate in the selection of activities and supporting social workers
Children and young people who leave the system of alternative care use forms and mechanisms for giving feedback
Social needs assessment identifies the steps through the way to independence
The work plan outlines the direction for the development of skills, independence and integration into the community to the maximum extent possible
All goals and activities must be result oriented
The staffing structure is appropriate and reflects the aims of the program and the needs of children and young people
The program has developed effective mechanisms for the selection and improvement of the professional qualification of the staff
Professional competence that guarantees results for beneficiaries