|Friends of Saray|
Mission Statement for Collaboration between UAFA and Kanta Talukdar-Stanchina
History of Partnership in Saray institution:
UAFA began working at this institution in 2001 since 2001, implementing activities aimed at raising the level of care for children with mental and physical disabilities. These activities were based upon new methodologies for Azerbaijan – occupational therapy and play therapy. UAFA trained 15+ institutional care staff to work alongside UAFA specialists to introduce individual and group therapy sessions for young children with a wide variety of disabilities. UAFA’s approach has been long-term, with a team of up to 4 local specialists visiting on a daily basis, and various foreign specialists visiting regularly to provide input, with the aim of transforming the institution from residential care to offering rehabilitation, day-care and respite services.
In 2008, UAFA introduced Family Reunification and Prevention activities aimed at reducing the numbers of children in the institution so that alternative services can be more effective. UAFA trained 2 care staff in social work skills and set up a community-based Child Protection Council to oversee all case work. The ‘social workers’, under the supervision of UAFA specialists, assess each child for potential reunification, develop care plans and then effect the reunification process. Running in parallel, the social workers are tasked with preventing new placements by meeting parents who are considering placing their child in the institution, and informing them about alternative, community-based support.
In 2007, UAFA began its partnership with the German Bazaar Committee through Kanta Talukdar-Stanchina. The original aim of this partnership was to introduce a new position of Child Development Specialist, in order to raise the level of care in the Institute and to help the children already in the institutes achieve a better standard of life and self realisation. Three care staff trained by UAFA, with some experience of using modern methods of rehabilitation, were selected to these new Child Development Specialist positions, paid by the German Bazaar Committee on the understanding that after one year, the Ministry of Labour & Social Protection would take over the financing. The three new Specialists underwent intensive training over a 4-week period in April 2008, given by German specialists in Neurology and Physiotherapy. Following this training, 15 children were selected for intensive daily therapy with the aim of demonstrating the impact that full-time positions in Child Development can have on the lives of children in residential care. Prior to this, the care staff that were working with UAFA in individual and group therapy sessions were only able to give an hour per day out of their routine work, which mainly comprised cleaning, dressing and feeding the children.
The great success of the above programme led to more intensive inputs. From 2008 – 2009, many new projects at Saray institution have been introduced, under the auspices of Kanta Stanchina, with widespread support from the international and national community aimed at improving the general condition and content of life of all the children in the residential Institution, not only those participating in the German Bazaar Programmes or in the UAFA run programmes. These new programmes aim to make Saray a model of best practices in residential, day and respite care, and provide training opportunities for future child development specialists. By raising the level of care, improving the management of day to day issues, maintenance, hygiene and helping the workers employed by the Ministry to work better by motivating them, training them and equipping them with better tools.
The programmes include
Special toys have been brought in from Germany and the next level of work, i.e. to train and empower the Ministry`s workers specifically in the above mentioned programmes have been started. This phase included the six-month residence of a German physiotherapist plus annual visits of German experts in neurology and physiotherapy to train the child carers and child development specialists in modern approaches to rehabilitation.
Seven Ministry workers and the two Directors, of Saray and Shagan, were sent to Germany on a six-week visit and training course. Such visits are to be continued.
This Mission Statement will outline all activities implemented by the partnership under a common vision for the future of children’s services at Saray institution.
We accept that there will always be a need for institutional care for some children whose families are not in a position to adequately care for their children and meet their social, education, health and care needs. We envisage that State provision of care services will fully meet these needs after a process of transformation that raises the quality of care and service provision.
These micro projects introduced by German Bazaar Project/KTS in partnership with UAFA are all pilot projects, with the expectation that the State will take over and replicate similar programmes in their residential institutions.
We believe that the level of care in the Institutions and the lives of the children in these institutions must be at the highest level to meet international standards, and this is the main thrust of cooperation between UAFA and the projects under German Bazaar Group/KTS.
The transformation will be achieved through a process re-structuring, training and supervision, and material investment. As a result of transformation, the facility will become known as a Centre of Excellence, demonstrating new methodologies in rehabilitation, vocational skills development and alternative services together with residential care of the highest level, to serve as a pilot project and example for residential care in the country.. This Centre of Excellence can also provide a useful location for practical training of future child development specialists, in the event that this type of training is offered in higher education facilities. The trained staff can provide practical supervision of students, which will also help to increase the level of personal attention for each child at the facility.
Crucial to this transformation will be a revised system of referral, otherwise known as gate-keeping, which will introduce strict criteria for entry to care services, with the emphasis being placed on keeping the child with their family and placement in care being an absolute last resort. For children who are placed in care, the participation of their family in their care plan will be facilitated by social workers responsible for family liaison.
In the long-term, it is envisaged that the institution can be broken down into small group homes with the emphasis placed on residents living semi-independent lives.
Existing/planned activities contributing towards transformation: