International projects and programs

Oak project „Safe family environment for children in Latvia!”

With the financial support for the Oak fund from 01.08.2015.-31.07.2018. a project called „Safe family environment for children in Latvia!”is taking place. The aim of the project is to promote a nurturing family environment for children who have been left without parental care. The project is based on the National Development plan 2014.–2020. and was closely related to the deinstutionalization guidelines that have been created by the Ministry of Welfare.
As part of the project 2015.-2018. the following activities will/are taking place: Training and supervision:
1) Training and supervision for specialist teams in regions that are responsible for assessing the individual needs of children and creating their personalized DI plans,
2) Training and supervision for children care centres’ staff to transfer their services to a new, community-based approach for children who have been left without parental care.
Promoting fostercare:
1) The research about the capacity of foster families,
2) Creating a capacity development program for foster families with low care quality,
3) Ensuring that regional foster famiies’ centres are operating,
4) Campaign „ Help a child to grow up in a family!”.
Supporting children and young people after institutional care:
1) Independence program for teenagers from foster families and guardian families, including:
– Group work for teenagers to strengthen their personal resources and communication skills,
– Mentoring,
– Consultations with specialists,
– Camps and creative workshops on the location.

With financial support from the '' Oak Fund'' a new art exhibition has been launched of photographer Valters Poļakovs “Growing up in a family”

Photo artist Valters Poļakovs in cooperation with the foundation  „ Social Services Agency ” , the Department of Welfare of the Riga City Council and the ”Oak Fund” has launched a photo exhibition “Growing up in a family”. 30 large format art works show moments of daily life in foster families and guardians in the variety of colour as differnet as the oments themselves – laughter and sad moments. The photographer describes his work very briefly  – look into their eyes!

The exhibition is also diminishing  myth about the new data protection regulations. Precisely and with honouring all terms of privacy and rights of children and their families he offers a visual treat and emotional pictures and captivating stories to a wider public. All one needs is a wish, knowledge and mutual trust. The aim of the exhibition is to encourage people to become foster families. After the opening of the exhibition o 15rth of May 2018 in ”Ed. Smilga Theatre museum” as part of the annual Family Day it has traveled around Latvia inspiring families in many differnet regions.  The exhibition has been prsented  in Riga, Daugavpils, Liepaja and Iecava and will visit the city of Tukums, Smiltene and others.

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The 1st graduation of a communication program for teenagers ''DARI''

On 4th of June trough financial support by the Riga City Council’s department of Welfare the first communication training frogram for teenagers„ DARI” concluded.  As part of the program  15 teenagers had a chance to train in communication and leadership skills, to develop their creative talents and to improve their stategies of solving conflicts.
~Everything we do influence us. If we do good things we feel happy, if bad- unhappy. True happiness is inside oneself. A sincere and inspired heart travels further than mind.~

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Information about the 1st research of foster families in Latvia

On 31st of October at 14.00 in Riga Castle journalists will be introduced with results of the 1st research of foster families in Latvia. The introduction will be made by the chief of board in ”Social Services Agency”  Dace Blazevica. The Minister of Welfare Jānis Reirs will inform about the financial and  psychological support planned for foster families in the nearest future. A foster mother Inese Meirāne will share her experience of providing a foster family for many years. The necessity for children to grow up in a family environment will be emphasized by the 1st Lady Iveta Vējone.
Foster care in Latvia is celebrating 10 years in Latvia. However, for many years the number of foster families has stopped it’s increase, but there are still more than 1429 children growing up in institutions.
The aim of the research is to find out what activities should be made to imrpove the fosre care system and to provide :
1) the increase of foster families in Latvia
2) a higher capacity of a foster family, lessening the risk of viloence amongst foster families.
The research was carried out between March 2016 and August of the same year.  413 foster families were surveyed . The task was funded by  the fund in Switzerland OAK and it’s project  “Safe family environment for children in Latvia!”.
Information was prepared by  Dzintris Kolāts, the consultant of media and public relationship in ”Social Services Agency” Dzintris.kolats@gmail., Phone No:  29287746

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Invitation to take part in an international conference

The international conference “Needs of a child – our opportunities”  will take place on 24th of February at the ”Culture Center of Smiltene” (Gaujas Street 1, Smiltene). The basis of teh conference will be the idea that it’s the natural need of any child to grow up in a family. In Latvia around  1860 children are still within social care institutions, 500 of them infants who are lacking emotional contact and warmth of caring relationship. The aim of the conference is to attract the attention of specialists working with children’s rights, education and health treatment in order to support these rights and to focus on ensuring a family environment for children who have been placed in a non-family care.  When attending the conference you will ahve a chance to learn about various innovative ideas how to support children if they have a difficulty growing up in their family environment. Such conferences have previously taken place in Jelgava – Zemgale region, Liepaja – Kurzeme region, Rezekne- Latgale region and now there is a chance for specialists to attend in  Vidzeme region. So far conferences have been widely attended and recieived positive feedback from the participants.
The conference was organized as part of the OAK funded project  “Safe family environment for children in Latvia!”  by the foundation “Social Services Agency” and professional foster families union “ Terēze” in cooperation with Smiltene City Council.
In conference there will be lecturers from Latvia and Neatherlands.
Moderator of the conference: Ansis Bogustovs.
We welcome applications until 20th of February 2016  to our e-mail:
SPApasakumi@gmail.com  Please, write your name, surname and the institution you represent.

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A broadcast cycle about foster families

Starting from the first weekend of  January 2016 the foundation ”Social Services Agency” opens  broadcast series ”Dare to help” on ”Radio of Latvia 2”  as well as on news websites  ”Delfi.lv” and ”Calis.lv”. Foster families of Latvia will talk about their motivation, experience, gains and possible risks when accepting foster children in their family.  Such sharing of experienece might review some stereotypes regarding motives, preparation and circumstances when accepting a foster child. But the main task is to help those who have thought about making this step, but because of uncertainty or the lack of information have hesitated to accept foster children in their families.
Stories about experience of foster families  in public media is the biggest par of the project   possible. The institutional base of the project is the National Plan of Development  2014. – 2020. and gudlines created by the Ministry of Welfare.
True stories from foster familie sof Latvia will be aired on ”Radio of Latvia 2” every Saturday morning from 9th of January onwards at  9.30. or on the website delfi.lv.055 (962 of 130)   055 (941 of 130) 055 (907 of 130)

Founding of ''Professional foster families union ''Tereze''

As part of Oak project ” Safe family environment for children in Latvia!” during 2017 ”Professional foster families union ”Tereze” has been set up. The basic principles of the union are as follows:
1.Professional foster families union „Tereze” is a support institution for foster families of Latvia providing infromative, moral and social assistance.
2.Aim of the union;

  • to raise the role of a foster family in society;
  • to popularize foster care and to inform society about the imortance of a foster family within the non-family care model;
  • to promote cooperation between foster families  in order to improve the situation of foster care nationwide
  • to prepare suggestions and ideas for State institutions that are forming the policy of foster care in Latvia.

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Opening of family support centers

With financial support from Oak Foundation and regional municipalities new family support centers have been opened in the regions of  Kurzeme, Latgale and Riga providing services for foster families and children who have been inserted into foster care.  Thanks to the support foster families can receive consultations and help  from specialists: social worker, psychotherapist, specialized tutor etc. In these centers with help from local municipalities preventive services are being developed ensuring children with a chance to grow up in a family environment.  Whilst improving the family assistant service and crisis intervention service many children hada chance to stay in their biological family.046A0462

Foster family model based on child's needs in Latvia

On 9th of May, year 2017, a presentation of the model of foster family system based on the needs of the children was organized at the Ministry of Welfare. The model is based on the analysis of data collected in the Foster Family study.

http://www.delfi.lv/news/national/politics/veidos-specializetas-audzugimenes-un-ieviesis-datu-registru.d?id=49299861

http://www.mk.gov.lv/lv/aktualitates/tiks-ieviests-audzugimenu-registrs-veidotas-specializetas-audzugimenes-un-atbalsta

http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/nakamgad-ieviesis-audzugimenu-registru-un-veidos-specializetas-audzugimenes.d?id=49301033

http://www.ziemellatvija.lv/cilvekzinas/citas-zinas/izmainas-adoptetaju-aizbildnu-un-audzugimenu-sistema-96475

https://www.liepajniekiem.lv/zinas/sabiedriba/ar-jauniem-atbalsta-pasakumiem-plano-palielinat-audzugimenu-skaitu-liepaja-208754

http://lr1.lsm.lv/lv/raksts/riita-intervija/arija-martukane-par-bernunamu-sistemu-un-audzugimenem.a86225/

http://www.progresivie.lv/2017/10/25/ka-izglabt-sistemas-bernus/

http://www.lps.lv/uploads/docs_module/Petijums%20par%20Latvijas%20ag%20kustibas%20tendencem.pdf

file:///C:/Users/Dace/Downloads/SPA_petij%20(1).pdf

tap.mk.gov.lv/doc/2017_09/LManot_280917_BTAL.2154.docx

Information about the end of Deinstitutionalization experts training

In October 2016 the training sessions for specialists about the individual assessment of children during DI process were finished successfully. The training was a part of the project ”Safe family environment for children in Latvia!” , financed by ”Oak Foundation” and included around 100 specialists – physiotherapists, ergo therapists, social workers and psychologists from all regions of Latvia. The training included the following sections: DI process in Latvia and in the World, experience of Bulgaria colleagues in carrying out the DI process, risks and examples of good practice; target groups and description of assessment methods; forming a contact and exploring communication methods with children who experience communication problems; evaluation aims, modeling evaluation process etc. Personal experience with subjects mentioned above was discussed by lecturers: Ieva Leimane-Veldmeijere (RC ZELDA director), Zane Kronberga (clinical psychologist, Autism Centre of Latvia), Mg.Psych. Inese Bordāne, supervisor and social worker Kārlis Viša as well as Alexandrina Dimitrova (Executive Director of the Cedar Foundation, Bulgaria).

From November all trained specialists will be provided with supervision which will take place regularly during the whole period of children’s assessment.

Training for orphanages and care centres staff of Oak funded project “Safe family environment for children in Latvia!”

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The Education Centre of Social Services Agency is currently carrying out a 3 day (24 academic hours) training of orphan care centres “Using Resilience approach and Kid’s skills methodswhen working with children”.We have just finished our training for first 2 training groups participating specilaists from Rīga, Eleja, Irlava and Koknese BBAC.
The participants highly appreciated a chance to learn the methods provided for they could find them a practical help in everyday situations when working with teenagers and young people with behavioural difficulties as consequences of their experience with violence.
On 27.06. and 29.06. the raining will be continued by next two training groups

Balancing children’s needs with our possibilities

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On 15th of Junein Liepājathe‘‘Latvian union house’’held a conference “Children’s needs and our possibilities”. The event was organized by the foundation “Social Services Agency” and Kurzeme regional foster families union “Estere” in cooperation with Switzerland fund Oak. . The main goal of the event – discussing how to ensure a family environment for children who have been left without parental care.
In the last few months several mistakes of running institutions for children without parental care was an extra motivation to support a previous public vision- to ensure a family environment for children who have been separated from it or have lived without it.

The majority of institutions included in the DI process support or claim to support the need of a child to find fulfillment and harmony within deinstutionalization and it’s development. What is troublesome, however, is the differences in formal interpretation of DI purposes when it comes to documentation. The conference gave an opportunity to look at the research field form a different perspective, comparing foster families support network in various regions, it’s sucess and problems encountered.
The biggest interest this event caused amongst specialists. It was attended by Orphan’s court staff members and social services representatives from 16 regions which can be rated as a good achievement. Unfortunatelly, there weren’t any attendants from municipalities’ decision-making management, which can only partly be explained by the recent election. Almost half of the participants were foster families. Alltogether the conference was attended by 80 people.
The professor of the University of Latvia, socioanthropologyst Aivita Putniņa in her report discussed cliches and problematic facts within the work of administrational institutions as well as narrowly defined terms of moral and physical violence where the results and problem solutions mustn’t get rushed.
‘’The State inspectorate for protection of childrens rights’’Iveta Arāja reminded about taking into account children’s needs as well as an understanding of what kind of capabilities municipalities.
A professional foster families union “Terēze” directorĀrija Martukāne introduced the results of DI process research from foster families point of view, stating various institutions that are at the beginning of their development. Riga’s experience of making a foster families support network was represented by a support centre “Dūja” director Gundega Filatova. The fact that DI process cannot be carried out ‘’magically’’ emphasized Jelgavas centre “Elizabete”representatives, showing exampes of good practice from institutional care and it’s use.
A family environment and a less formal setting was represented during the conference by the singing foster family of Seržānias well as children from Brocēni foster family.
In conclusion, the majority of participants followed the conference attentively and shared their experience, confirming the need of such events as well as the need for a future platform of problem solving and mutual communication. Further development is also required of municipalities and their involvement in forming a good and professional understanding from their side.
The article prepared by
Dzintris Kolāts,

Oak project " Safe family environment for children in Latvia!"

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On 27th of October 2015 as part of the project “ Safe family environment for children in Latvia!’’ the inter-institutional work group meeting took place , presenting the aim and activities of the project, their results and inter-institutional tasks.

The international conference in Smiltene

The international conference ‘’Needs of a child and means of support’’ took place on the 24th of February at Smiltene’s centre of culture. The conference gathered 147 specialists from various backgrounds in Latvia: social work, orphan’s court etc.  to discuss the needs of a child and means to help those needs in order to ensure a safe family environment for children without parental care. During the conference there was a chance to see some good practice examples from Neatherlands and Latvia as well as to experience some innovative ideas of child support.

More information about the conference : http://www.eliesma.lv/jasamazina-iestades-dzivojoso-bernu-skaits;

http://valmieraszinas.lv/smiltene-notiks-konference-berna-vajadzibas-un-palidzibas-iespejas/;

http://www.lsm.lv/lv/raksts/gimene-un-veseliba/dzive/smiltene-pieredze-par-audzugimenu-sistemu-dalas-socialo-lietu-specialisti.a170706/

Thank you for all those interested and those who attended!

Exposition " Soul of the Sun" in Salapsils

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The unusual painting exhibition ‘’ The Soul of the Sun’’ by Maruta Vanaga is now travelling to  Salaspils.  Whilst looking forward to Easter the opening of the exhibition will take place on the 24th of March  at 16.00 . Paintings of the Sun will be open for public  until the 24th of April.

Research to promote foster care in Latvia

Foundation „Social Services Agency” ( hence forward-  the Agency) as  part of  OAK foundation’s funded  project „Safe family environment for children in Latvia!” is organizing a research to promote foster care in Latvia.

Project activities – the aim of this research is to discover and inform the potential specialized foster families, for example, to survey data about existing foster families in Latvia and to find out about their wish and abilities to specialize and  to tailor the necessary support system model for this process to take place efficiently.

Main tasks of the research :

  • To define a sepcialized foster family’s aim, it’s theoretical and practical abilities, to formulate main criteria;
  • To identify the responsiblity between a foster family and the care system, to separate their institutional areas (stakeholders analysis);
  • To create a social portrait of existing foster families and to ‘’read’’ their possible directions of specification;
  • To identify foster families’ need of support and to recognize various ways a supervision can help with their situation (SVID analysis);
  • To propose foster families’ quality criteria and to promote suggestions of how to measure them.

 

The questionnaire is taking place since 26th of March, 2016.

 

The data from foster families’ questionnare will provide state institutions with basic information about potential risks when putting together the legislation for the new service of specialized foster care. This data will open a chance to compare what is the age of children who are taken into foster care as well as what difficulties foster families encounter when caring for a foster child. All the data gathered  from the research will help to provide the necessary support for foster families in Latvia.

Foster families storry cycle as part of the Oak foundation supported project

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From January   until April 2016 we have organized, recorded and prepared for a public view interviews with 16 foster families from all over Latvia. The main tasks of this publicity campaign were to share the positive experience of taking on foster children and raising them in one’s family as well as to encourage other families who are considering this decision to make a choice by informing them of the existing benefits and risks of it.  We would also like to use this occasion to thank the employees of Social Services Agency across Latvia for their active help in finding foster families who would like to share their experience and for organizing the interviewing process at their location.

These interviews were made over a period of  4 months and posted as full transcripts on the website  calis.lv and broadcasted on radio station   ”Latvijas Radio 2” every Saturday morning at 8.30 as 5min long fragments of these interviews.

Most part of the foster families participating were from regions of Latvia emphasizing the size of the foster family movement in Latvia which is a contrast to an existing standard that the centre of a social service and care is only located in the capital or  large cities.

The information gathered by the interviews can also serve as a practical example for specialists working with people who are considering weather to become a foster family.

 

 

Links to the interviews:

 

CALIS.LV

 

Ārija Martukāne calis.lv  January 14th:

 

Dace Ģertrūde Paulīte calis.lv January 21st:   http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/dace-gertrude-paulite-jau-11-gados-sev-zvereja-ka-pienems-kadu-audzubernu.d?id=46958293

 

Inese Meirāne calis.lv January 28th:  http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/vispirms-jaredz-berna-ciesanas-savas-ambicijas-noliekot-otraja-vieta-audzumammas-ineses-stasts.d?id=46998989

 

Māra Veldre calis.lv February 4th: http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/astoni-pasas-un-pieci-audzuberni-tas-palidz-neklut-vecai-saka-mara-veldre.d?id=47025391

 

Agris Gerhards calis.lv February 11th:  http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/cetru-pasa-bernu-un-audzudela-tevs-agris-gerhards-bernu-audzinasana-ir-darbs.d?id=47050205

 

 

Dace Turka calis.lv February 18th: http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/cilveks-jau-ir-vinam-tikai-drusku-drusku-japadod-roka-saka-audzumama-dace-turka.d?id=47078395

 

 

Margita Grulle calis.lv February 25th:

 

 

Marija Pupiņa, calis.lv 3.marts http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/man-ir-deli-bet-tik-loti-gribejas-meitinu-latgalietes-marijas-dzivesstasts.d?id=47138199

 

Jānis Gulbis, calis.lv, 10.marts http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/piecu-berns-tevs-no-smiltenes-lielais-solis-ir-apnemsanas-izaudzinat-svesu-bernu.d?id=47166689

 

 

Vija Nille, calis.lv March 17th: http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/cilvekstasts-vija-nille-no-koceniem-pajumti-devusi-22-svesiem-berniem.d?id=47197957

 

 

Inese Kaļva, calis.lv March 24th:  http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/kad-jasavalda-pec-seksa-kara-13-gadus-veca-audzumeita-latgalietes-ineses-stasts.d?id=47231445

 

 

Dzintra Ābola, calis.lv March 21st:  http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/sesu-meitu-mamma-kandavniece-dzintra-abola-audzuberni-atnak-jau-ar-zabaciniem-kajas.d?id=47251695

 

Biruta Kristapure, calis.lv April 7th:  http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/turlavniece-biruta-neesmu-amerikaniete-kas-uzreiz-gatava-atzities-i-love-you.d?id=47286677

 

Jānis Samauskis, calis.lv, April 14th:  http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/ai-visadi-ragi-lien-ara-par-audzuberniem-saka-janis-samauskis-no-saldus-puses.d?id=47314985

 

Inga un Andris Alkšņi, calis.lv, April 21st: http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/paslaik-tris-bija-sesi-kopa-trispadsmit-saruna-ar-audzuvecakiem-alksniem-rucava.d?id=47343505

 

Evita Bērziņa un dēls Gvido, calis.lv, 28. aprīlis http://www.delfi.lv/calis/jaunumi/labi-padarita-darba-sajuta-evitas-un-vinas-dela-gvido-stasts-par-audzubernu-uznemsanu.d?id=47373739

 

 

LATVIJAS RADIO 2

 

Ārija Martukāne, January 9th:

http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=9&m=1&y=2016&d2=9&m2=1&y2=2016&channel=2&keyword=

 

 

Dace Gertrūde Paulīte, January 16th:

http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=1&m=1&y=2016&d2=6&m2=2&y2=2016&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

Inese Meirāne, January 23rd:  http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=1&m=1&y=2016&d2=6&m2=2&y2=2016&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

 

Māra Veldre, January 30th:  http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=1&m=1&y=2016&d2=6&m2=2&y2=2016&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

Agris Gerhards, February 6th:  http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=1&m=1&y=2016&d2=6&m2=2&y2=2016&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

Dace Turka, February 13th:  http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=13&m=2&y=2016&d2=&m2=&y2=&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

Marija Pupiņa, February 20th:

http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=20&m=2&y=2016&d2=&m2=&y2=&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

Margita Grulle, February 27th:

http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=27&m=2&y=2016&d2=&m2=&y2=&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

Jānis Gulbis, March 5th:

http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=5&m=3&y=2016&d2=&m2=&y2=&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

Vija Nille, March 12th:

http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=12&m=3&y=2016&d2=&m2=&y2=&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

Inese Kaļva, March 19th:

http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=19&m=3&y=2016&d2=&m2=&y2=&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

Dzintra Ābola, March 26th:

http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=26&m=3&y=2016&d2=&m2=&y2=&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

Biruta Kristapure, April 2nd:

http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=2&m=4&y=2016&d2=&m2=&y2=&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

Jānis Samauskis,April 9th:

http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=9&m=4&y=2016&d2=&m2=&y2=&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

Inga un Andris Alkšņi, April 16th:

http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=16&m=4&y=2016&d2=&m2=&y2=&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

 

Evita Bērziņa un dēls Gvido, April 23rd:

http://www.latvijasradio.lsm.lv/lv/lr/arhivs/?adv=1&d=23&m=4&y=2016&d2=&m2=&y2=&channel=2&keyword=Iedro%C5%A1inies+pal%C4%ABdz%C4%93t

New program for teenagers " Do it!"

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Teenagers aged 13-18 who are willing to take on unusual tasks and to experience new adventures is how participants of our new program ”Do it!” describe themselves. Duration of the program is 8 months: 01.10.2016.-31.05.2017.
Program activities:
• Camps, adventure camping trips,
• Creative group work:
– Interactive communication/resilience psychology lessons,
– Positive (anti-violent) philosophy/learning survival skills,
– Contemporary dance/free movement improvisation;
– Creative self exploration (music/drama/cinema/art)
• Self-made project presentation (ex. camping trip, camp, short film, social initiative project etc.),
• Creative inter-generation communication sessions,
• Feedback sessions with program leaders.

The positive atmosphere of the program is delivered by experience specialists who’s daily work includes working with teenagers and young people.

Results of the first national foster families research of Latvia

On 31st of October at 14.00 in Riga Castle journalists will be introduced to results of the first foster families research of Latvia. The chief of board Dace Blaževiča from Social Services Agency (Latvia) will present results and the minister of Welfare – Jānis Reirs- will inform about the planed financial and psychological support for foster families in the nearest future.

A foster mother- Inese Meirāne – will share her experience of being a long-term foster parent . The necessity of ensuring that all children can have an opportunity to grow up in a family environment will be expressed by the First Lady – Iveta Vējone.
The foster care of Latvia is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year. But for many years the increase of the number of foster families has stopped, despite the fact that there are still 1492 children growing up in orphanages and child care institutions.
The aim of the research is to discover what actions are needed to provide foster families with the necessary support to improve:
1) increase of foster families in Latvia;
2) foster families’ capacity, decreasing the risk of violence in the family.

The research was carried out between March 2016 until August 2016. 413 foster families took part in the questionnaire. The project ”Safe family environment for children in Latvia” (one of it’s chief activities being the foster families research) was possible thanks to the financial support from ”Oak Foundation”.

Information was prepared by Dzintris Kolāts, the PR and Media consultant of Social Services Agency.
Dzintris.kolats@gmail.com Phone No. 29287746

From 2018 there will be specialized foster families in Latvia

Monday, 31st of October, in Riga Castle, the first research of foster families was presented as well as information about the idea of creating specialized foster families.
The foundation’s „Social Services Agency” results of the research showed that children who came to foster families had a traumatized ability to form an attachment. Most children from social care institutions had learning, mental health or other kind of disabilities. Foster families also confirmed that children had various health problems. When analyzing foster families the data showed that they are mostly people at their working age with basic or higher education and average income. Mostly foster families consist of two parents and most of them as their motivation have chosen a desire to help children. As the necessary support families have showed a need for both additional information and support, also with the financial aspect.

The results of the research show that the Ministry’s of Welfare work of forming specialized foster families by the Year of 2018 is a necessary one. Specialized foster families will be trained foster parents who are able to provide foster care that is matching with a child’s age, individual growth and development of social skills. In order to make it happen an improvement of educational and support services is needed as well as a close collaboration between various sectors of foster care and a stable, predictable financial and social support.

„Foster families not only fill in a role of a family, but also they are often carers, teachers and a social support. Every child has his own story and experience, sometimes it takes a double patience, understanding and a specialized help. Therefore it is planned to improve the foster family care service, subtly increasing the financial support as well as forming a stable system for social support” was said by the minister of Welfare – Jānis Reirs.
The Fist Lady- Iveta Vējone- remarked that every child’s most natural desire is to grow up in a family, especially for children aged 0-3 years.
The research „Safe family environment for children in Latvia” took place from March until July and 417 out of 585 foster families of Latvia were questioned. The aim of it was to find out what are the difficulties that foster families face in their daily practice, to discover their needs of support and to see how they could potentially specialize.

Research about foster families in Latvia

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From March -August 2016 during the project ,,Safe family environment for children in Latvia!”, made possible thanks to the ”Oak Foundation” financial support, a nation-wide research took place about foster families in Latvia and their capacity. Main tasks of the research were:
• to find out, what are difficulties in foster family’s daily practice,
• to sum up various needs of foster families in order to improve their support network,
• to explore potential opportunities of forming specialized foster families.

The report of the research is available upon an email request (both in Latvian and in English).
The Latvian version is also available via link below:

http://www.krize.lv/petijums-par-latvijas-audzugimenem/

http://www.tvnet.lv/zinas/latvija/555815-vismaz_2030_audzugimenes_gada_atsakas_no_saviem_pienakumiem

https://www.diena.lv/raksts/latvija/zinas/petijums-no-bernunamos-dzivojosajiem-berniem-vairak-neka-13-ir-jaunaki-par-tris-gadiem-14158988

http://www.president.lv/pk/content/?art_id=24506

http://www.la.lv/valsts-izmanto-musu-entuziasmu/

http://www.tvnet.lv/zinas/latvija/555815-vismaz_2030_audzugimenes_gada_atsakas_no_saviem_pienakumiem

http://www.delfi.lv/news/national/politics/tiesibsarga-birojs-pasvaldibas-nemekle-iespeju-mazulim-nodrosinat-audzugimeni-vai-aizbildni.d?id=48155235

https://skaties.lv/zinas/latvija/sabiedriba/video-kads-ir-audzugimenes-portrets-latvija/

http://www.reitingi.lv/lv/news/politika/110781.htm

About the end of Deinstitutionalization experts training

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In October 2016 the training sessions for specialists about the individual assessment of children during DI process were finished successfully. The training was a part of the project ”Safe family environment for children in Latvia!” , financed by ”Oak Foundation” and included around 100 specialists – physiotherapists, ergo therapists, social workers and psychologists from all regions of Latvia. The training included the following sections: DI process in Latvia and in the World, experience of Bulgaria colleagues in carrying out the DI process, risks and examples of good practice; target groups and description of assessment methods; forming a contact and exploring communication methods with children who experience communication problems; evaluation aims, modeling evaluation process etc. Personal experience with subjects mentioned above was discussed by lecturers: Ieva Leimane-Veldmeijere (RC ZELDA director), Zane Kronberga (clinical psychologist, Autism Centre of Latvia), Mg.Psych. Inese Bordāne, supervisor and social worker Kārlis Viša as well as Alexandrina Dimitrova (Executive Director of the Cedar Foundation, Bulgaria).

From November all trained specialists will be provided with supervision which will take place regularly during the whole period of children’s assessment.

Conference "Child's needs-our opportunities" at Slampe

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On 3rd of November 2016 at Tukuma region Slampe in the hall of Zemgale culture castle the foundation „Social Services Agency ” with cooperation from Tukuma regional council organised a conference „ Child’s needs-our opportunities”. The conference was organised as part of the Oak Foundation financed project „ Safe family environment for children in Latvia!”.
Specialists of Riga planing region who work in the social sector had a chance to get to know the DI process experiences as well as best practice examples of forming social services and to take part in work groups that discussed real life problem situations, coming up with children needs based solutions. 87 specialists took part in the conference and were ready to talk about developing community-centered services. The discussion was lead by a professional moderator Ansis Bogustovs. Conferences of this kind had also been organised at Zemgale region Jelgava, Kurzeme region Liepāja, Latgale region Rēzekne and Vidzeme region Smiltene.

Project: "Support System for Latvian foster families, adoptive parents, guardians and host families'

The project is implemented:
Foundation “Social Service Agency”, financially supported by the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism program “NGO Fund” subprogram.

The project aims:
To promote prosperity, Latvian promoting a stable, family-oriented professional care support system and the existence of children left without parental care.

Project activities:

1. Professional support system for the target group, providing care for children left without parental care in a good family environment, support systems for the maintenance of the involvement of local authorities.

2. The training of specialists and a single support program implementation in Latvian regions.

3. 4 mobile support centers in the target group of Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Latgale regions to provide accessible services, including social worker and psychotherapist counseling, support groups, crisis counseling, training according to the needs of families, mentor training, strengthening families, mutual support.

Current events in Kurzeme mobile support center

Social worker Kristine Alčauska informed that a total of 3 months of support provided to 23 families; 18 have been a foster family; 4 guardians of the family, but one host family. K.Alčauska adopt family Kandava, Zemite, Zante and Vane.

Psychologist Andžela Grube advises Tukumā, Kandava, Zante and Vane. A.Grūbe informs that it carried out an assessment of the adoptive parents compliance, provided the foster parents with information on children’s age group characteristics, mental health, mental cognition, along with the foster parents identified and assessed parental resources, taught parents to restore these resources;

Regional Coordinator Margita Grulle informed that the Liepaja project offers a familiar and service receives an average of 38 families within 3 months, including both adoptive parents and guardians and foster families. Advice and answers to questions received by both adults and children. Regular meetings take place from May at Skrunda covered arriving foster families and guardians from both Kuldīga local lakes, Brocēni, Vaiņodes. Family get answers and recommendations specific situations, explanations of the reasons for children’s behavior and personal mount. We offer support for resettlement and case studies of family crisis. Liepaja is more individualized counseling. Special activity showing guardians, because so far they have with their child-rearing problems had to cope on their own.

On 13 October 2014, Liepaja, Klaipeda street 96a-2 of the project “Support System for Latvian foster families, adoptive parents, guardians and host families” program was opened in the region of Kurzeme family support center. The center will provide support services to foster families living in Kurzeme region, guardians, adoptive parents

Oak project " Empowering child's strength for violance prevention"

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Since October 2016 the foundation ‘’Social Services Agency’’ is carrying out the ‘’Oak Foundation’’ co-financed project ,,Empoweringchild’sstrengthsforviolenceprevention”.
Aims of the project:

– To improve the environment of a child, by strengthening adults understanding of how to respect the child’s needs, views and to ensure their rights of using the resilience approach.
– To raise the capacity of specialists and parents to ensure a safe family and school environment.
The project is based on the Resilience approach or the power of returning to the original (healthy) form.
Resilience is a personal ability, a power of revival which helps to deal with a trauma and turn such experiences into the next step to climb up in order to overcome negative emotions and continue to grow in the direction of health, regardless of what has happened before.
The project has brought together specialists from 8 different countries : Moldavia, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Albania, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Latvia.
The duration of the project – 5 years.
Each country of the project participants organises a group of specialists to achieve the project goals together. The group of professionals – socal workers, social tutors, teachers, doctors, psychologists, police menand other professionals.

Activities " For a better World!"

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In August 2017 specialists from the foundation ‘’Social Services Agency’’ and foster families of Latvia had a chance to see Slovenia’s experience in working with children and young people. As part of a family camp” Adventure academy” in “Ķoņu Windmills” an experience exchange seminar in Riga Slovenia’s association” For a Better World” introduced their methods of practice and who when working with children and young people they use ‘the language of a play’’. As examples they used well known stories such as „Little Prince” which touches themes that are relevant to the current situation of the World in a symbolic kaleidoscope thus emphasizing values in a way that’s easely perceptinle to a younger audience. Lightness, energy and humour were some of the main instruments when talking about themes for children and young people.
During the family camp ” Adventure Academy” group performences were made involving everyone regardless of their age, skills or knowledge of the language. The main questions explored in ‘’the language of a play’’ and unite all people of the World were the same as always – family, time, money and relationship. The leader of the camp Ulla Antona noted that after the performances and discussions children and young people of the camp were more positive and friendly.
The Slovenian colleagues led seminars for adults sharing ideas, methods and case studies about working with children and young people especially young people in difficult stages of life. Anoher point of view through a more symbolic language serves as a turning point towards a better understanding, mutual meeting and finding solution.

Pilot project for specialized foster families

In March 2018 the foundation ‘’Social Services Agency’’ is organizing a pilot project training for specialized foster families.  The training is fundedd via Oak project ‘’Safe family environment for children in Latvia!’’participating experienced foster families from all across Latvia.  5 different modules are being introduced: foster families for crisis situations, foster families for children with disabilities, foster families for infants aged 0-3 years, foster families for teenagers and fosterf amilies for children who have suffered from violence.Each module will be taught during 3 days, 24 academic hours in total.

On 2nd of March the training of foster families for crisis situations module begun.Participants shared their experience, ideas and questions related to topics which are relevant for foster families who will receive children  in crisis situations. In this module specialists like psychiatrist, therapy method specialist, family psychotherapist and psychotherapist specializing in addiction will take part. The training in other modules will take place on various dates across March 2018.


News

Pilot project for specialized foster families

13. March, 2018

In March 2018 the foundation ‘’Social Services Agency’’ is organizing a pilot project training for specialized foster families.  The training is fundedd via Oak project ‘’Safe family environment for children in Latvia!’’participating experienced foster families from all across Latvia.  5 different modules are being introduced: foster families for crisis situations, foster families for children with […]

Booklet

25. January, 2015

Leaf buklets

Project Final Report

25. January, 2015

Project Final Report_ENG (1)