Innsbruck (24 May 2005) - In Gmunden, Austria, a European congress will take place from 1 to 2 June 2005 on the topic of "Quality Standards in Out-of-Home Care for Children and Youths". With the "Quality4Children" project three major international organisations from the field of out-of-home child care have started an initiative which aims at guaranteeing and improving the development chances of hundreds of thousands of children and youths in Europe, who can not grow up with their biological parents.
IFCO (International Foster Care Organisation), FICE (Féderation Internationale des Communautés Educatives) and SOS Children's Villages are working in close collaboration on the project implementation. The congress in Gmunden is a particular milestone for the Europe-wide project, at which 32 countries will take part. Europe is becoming increasingly unified. In the context of the dynamics of a common European Economic Area there is also a need for pan-European initiatives for coping with social challenges. One such difficulty is the well-being of children and youths who can not grow up with their biological families.
How can the development prospects of these children and youths be safeguarded and improved upon? Which approaches to out-of-home care have proved to be effective in the eyes of the affected children and youths, parents and care-givers, and which approaches have not? Which quality standards for different forms of out-of-home care can be established based on these experiences? Can child welfare be europeanised? How can quality standards be implemented in a tangible way? What effects do participation and partnerships have (cooperation with children/youths, biological families, communities, care-givers, NGOs, authorities, etc)? The aim of "Quality4Children" is to find answers to these questions.
During this congress a specialist audience will be given a broad overview on the manifold efforts for improving the development chances of disadvantaged children and youths in Europe. The participants will not only have the opportunity to meet well-known specialists, care persons and politicians but also affected youths, who, during a workshop, will discuss their ideas on high-quality care, which they will then present to the audience.
The speakers include the well-known psychologist, human geneticist and socio-anthropologist Wassilios E. Fthenakis, the social educator and representative of critical educational science, Heinrich Kupffer, Andrew Hosie of the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Eva Dreher, deputy head of the Institute for Developmental Psychology and Psychological Diagnostics at Vienna University and many more. Furthermore the programme includes numerous short reports and workshops on the topics of quality development in out-of-home care, children?s rights, participation and specific characteristics of the out-of-home care way of life.
SOS Children's Villages is a non-governmental and non-denominational organisation providing long-term care for destitute, abandoned and orphaned children in 132 countries and territories. Roughly 59,000 children are being cared for at the organisation's 438 SOS Children's Villages and 346 youth facilities worldwide. In addition, the organisation also provides families with welfare and educational services. Some 131,000 children and youths attend SOS Schools, SOS Kindergartens and SOS Vocational Training Centres, while more than 690,000 benefit from SOS Medical and Social Centres and SOS Emergency Relief Programmes.
Further information regarding the project "Quality4Children" and the congress can be found on the website www.quality4children.info
For media contacts:
SOS Children's Villages Hermann Gmeiner Academy Hermann-Gmeiner-Straße 51
6020 Innsbruck / Austria
6020 Innsbruck / Austria