SOS Social Centres in Bulgaria
In Bulgaria there are currently four Social Centres for children and the local community, including those in Sofia, Gabrovo and Veliko Tarnovo. Many SOS Social Centres operate via Family Strengthening Programmes, that aim to support the wider community. Below is some information about some of the Social Centres that SOS Children runs in Bulgaria:
Social Centres around Bulgaria: In-Depth
Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:
In 2007, SOS Children’s Villages Bulgaria launched a family strengthening programme in Sofia. The programme offers support to families who are at risk of abandoning their children and enables children to grow within a caring family environment. Together with local authorities and other service providers, SOS Children’s Villages supports families and helps them to take good care of their children.
Work and Achievements:
During the year 2009, the FSP in Sofia cared for 221 children from 124 families: 90 children from 38 families were newcomers while 91 children from 65 families left the project.
Three types of progamme were developed. The work of two of the programmes consists of work with children, with the intent to get them acquainted with their rights and responsibilities. One programme works with the parents to enhance their parental skills and organization of self-help. The third programme is intended for parents of children up to 3 years of age.
An agreement for preventive activities directed toward children at risk was signed in September 2009. The Social Centre was provided with a part of the office of the local commission for work with juvenile delinquency, located close to the lodgings of the families that are project beneficiaries. In this way the transport difficulties of the parents and children attending the consultations was solved. In the period from October to December 2009, 14 children and 5 parents from the district were met in the office for consultations.
Work and Achievements:
The number of clients using the social services of the project reached 172 children from 74 families in 2009
In 2009, 8 of the families left the project reaching independence; 726 home visits to clients of the Family Counseling and Support Center were made; 41 children from 25 families were admitted. The work with 32 children from 17 families, beneficiaries from 2008, continued.
Aiming to inform and identify children and families in need which have not been covered by the Child Protection Department, informative initiatives were held with 7 nurseries and 10 schools, 4 medical centres, Social Support Departments, Municipalities, Municipality Centers for Community Support, Centres’ for Social Integration and Rehabilitation of Gabrovo and Trjavna , State Homes for Children 0-3 yrs in Gabrovo, State Homes for Children 7-18 yrs Gabrovo, 100 news Newspaper and local newspaper Gabrovo Today.
In August a three-day summer school for 8 children at the start of 1st grade in school was organized. The aim of the school for children in pre-school age is forming school habits and adaptation towards the school environment. Tutors in the summer school were the speech therapists and the psychologies of the Family Strengthening Program. Cooked dinner was provided for the children. A donation – school bag and school equipment - from the Family Strengthening Programs were provided to each child. The children received certificates for successful graduation. On 11.09.2009 a festivity in the occasion of the first school day was organized jointly with the municipality centre for social support.
In December a three-day school for five parents was organized and held. The Centre’s social workers were facilitators and tutors. A Christmas party was organized for 20 children.
Work and Achievements:
During 2009 our project in Veliko Tarnovo is different from the one started in 2008. The unemployment level at the end of 2009 has increased by 1.56%. The unemployed were mostly women or employees without any special skills and qualifications that became our project’s beneficiants. In the beginning of December 2009, 204 families are waiting for municipal housing in Veliko Tarnovo. Only 11 of them have received them.
Lack of available places in nurseries causes difficulties to Roma families with many children (project’s target group). In some of the villages around Veliko Tarnovo, nurseries were closed at the end of 2009.
From the beginning of the year, the psychologist made 120 psychological consultations with beneficiaries of the project. From November 2009 a special educator works with children clients. Consultations with 20 children were held on topics related to children's rights and prevention of risky behaviors.