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Project “Community power for Families”

Reach for Change has partnered up with the Latvian Child Welfare Network (Latvia) and Geri Norai (Lithuania) to carry out the project “Community power for Families”.

The aim of the project is to improve cooperation between public sector and civil society organizations that provide social services. In order to achieve the aim, the framework will be developed and set up in a local municipality to effectively identify both the current support needs of families, children and young people, as well as potential partnering organizations that can provide the required services. The process will also require the involvement of all stakeholders in planning and in service needs and quality assessment.

The project is aimed to develop and pilot a mapping approach that will identify the needs for support of families with children in Tukums region in Latvia, in cooperation with Tukums Region Social Service Agency. The project will also help to recognize the resources that are already available in the region and can be used to provide support services to families with children. Residents, institutions and companies of Tukums region will be actively involved in identifying needs and resources by organizing focus group discussions, interviews and surveys.

Reach for Change will present the examples of good practice from Sweden, demonstrating successful public sector and civil society cooperation in providing public services to families with children. The presentation will be part of the 2-day seminar organized at the end of the project, with Reach for Change along the other invited experts from Lithuania and Latvia.

Within the project there will be also a handbook developed describing mapping and prioritization methods, as well as include the examples of good practice from Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden. The handbook will also be available to local governments of other regions of Latvia that are willing to improve the process of planning and implementation of public services, including the availability of services and compliance with the needs of the target group in their local government.

 

Background of the Project

According to various studies, including the Latvian Child Welfare Network's study on youth well-being in the Baltic States, Latvia has alarmingly low child and youth well-being rates in a number of key areas, such as poor physical and mental health, violent relationships with peers (Latvia has the highest child and youth well-being victims of violence in the European Union), high social tensions, inequality and poverty. The well-being of children is closely linked to the situation in the family, which is also influenced by the situation in the local community and in the country as a whole.

There are a large number of children growing up in single-parent families in Latvia (34% of divorced families with children in 2019), and, according to statistical data, single-parent families, as well as families with children with special needs, are most exposed to poverty, and the risk of social exclusion. Also, many parents lack the support and knowledge to perform their parental responsibilities, which often leads to emotional tension, conflict and often violence, which has a direct negative impact on children and the family as a whole.

At the same time, municipalities, especially in rural areas, lack the resources and often the skills and experience to identify the needs of families with children and help address them effectively. Thus, the project contributes to the development and piloting of practical methods that will help municipalities to identify the needs of families with children and to develop services that involve community resources and are based on sustainable, effective and mutually beneficial cooperation models.

 

The project “Community Power for Families” (project no. NGSLV-623) is implemented within the framework of the Nordic Council of Ministers' Grant Program Nordic and Baltic NGO Program and in cooperation with partners “Geri Norai” from Lithuania and “Reach for Change” from Sweden. The project has been launched in May 2020 and will be implemented until March 2021.

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