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Navigating in Woods

Description of the services in the Program

"Support for independent and independent living"

The program "Support for independent and independent living" was developed by SOS Children's Villages, Bulgaria as a stage in of the support process that the association provides to children and young people living in care facilities. The program has been implemented by the Association since 2001. The reason for its development is related to an identified need for those leaving alternative care for support in order to smooth transition to independent living. This support is individual in nature and is planned according to specific need.

Goals and objectives of the Program

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Target group of the program

Expected results

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The Start of Independent Life Program is a complex of services whose goals are to encourage and support the start of young people in their independent lives by achieving sustainable employment and regular income, providing adequate housing, continuing or completing education, providing access to healthcare, and taking control and responsibility for their lives.    According to the Rules of the Programme: "The relationship with young people who have left the Program continues with counseling and advice in difficult life situations, emotional and other support, help to protect their rights. Every young person who grew up in alternative care is supported to keep in touch with caregivers for lifelong emotional support, stimulating the youth to share their successes and problems."    The main tasks of the services are located in the main areas of support, namely education, employment, place to live, health and communication, and community.

The target group of the service is clearly defined according to basic criteria that define the groups of young people who can benefit from the activities offered. They are as follows:

  • Young people over 16 living in alternative care (Foster care, residential care or other residential service)

  • Young people who have lived in and left alternative care (if they are not reintegrated or adopted)


Young people can benefit from the service up to 1 year after leaving alternative care, and for those who left in previous years until the age of 19.

The maximum period of support under the program is 3 years from the date of signing a contract between the young man and the Association. If the young person leaves the Programme but is then re-enlisted, the time they have not been in the Programme shall be included in the total duration of support. For young people who, at the time of expiry of their three-year participation in the program, continue to study at a higher education institution, participation in the Programme may, exceptionally, be extended by no more than one calendar year.  


The expected results of the participation of young people in the program are related to:

  • Achieving autonomy in terms of meeting basic needs such as housing and employment

  • Exercising rights in terms of health and education

  • Preserving existing and creating new connections in the community.

Main activities and stages of implementation

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The basic services that are carried out within the program follow the logic of case management.  


The first stage of support is the implementation of an individual social assessment.


Individual assessment is the first stage of case management. It aims to collect and analyze information in order to identify the needs for support, strengths and weaknesses of the young person, the resources (personal, material and social) on which they can rely. Essential within the framework of the assessment is the analysis of the relationships and relationships of the young person with relatives, relatives, peers, etc. And for this purpose, different methods in social work are used within the framework of social assessment such as genogram, eco map, individual interview, personal history, etc.


The second stage of support is planning.

The support plan shall contain activities and measures, responsibilities and deadlines, and a timetable for monitoring implementation. All activities are subject to an identified long-term objective, areas of development, medium- and short-term objectives. The plan also contains indicators to track the results achieved and the success rate, as well as the necessary resources for implementation.


According to the Guidelines for the content of the individual support package, the following circumstances have an impact on the package of activities:

  • Material situation of the young person

  • Presence or absence of income sources

  • Presence or absence of a place to live after leaving alternative care

  • Educational status

  • Plans and desires of the young person and all other relevant circumstances.


The individual support package may include the following elements:


  • Funds for health insurance, and funds for treatment in accordance with the needs of the young person, not covered by the Health Insurance Fund; specialized dental, psychological and/or psychiatric care.

  • Payment in whole or in part of rent for an accommodation (where there is a dormitory from a municipal fund, student dormitories or dormitory provided by an employer) or housing from the private market.

  • Funds for payment in whole or in part of tuition fees and other expenses due at University; funds to cover fees for courses for acquiring professional qualification (e.g. for drivers, security guards, cooks, etc.); course fees according to the personal interests of the young person (language, arts, IT skills, etc.)

  • Support to support active job search, including the removal of the necessary documents to start work.

  • Socio-psychological consultations.

  • Legal Assistance.

  • Accompanying to other social services.


The individual support package must be designed to provide an increasing degree of autonomy over time.  


Accordingly, the financial expression of support, if any, should decrease gradually and be completed in full by the end of the support period.


The third stage of the program is the implementation of the planned activities and the implementation of support.  


According to the identified individual needs, the package of measures may include psychological support, vocational guidance, support for applying for and holding a job, assistance in accessing administrative services, consultations with a lawyer, etc. Within the programme, financial support is also provided according to individual packages, mainly in the field of psycho-social support, continuing education, health and vocational guidance.

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