The aim is to present, compare and exchange existing in those European countries concepts and best practices to support and work with families. The project is financed under Erasmus+ programme of the EU.
The themes of the first study visit were “Reconciliation of family and working life, Participation of families in the area of requirement planning and Mandatory quality Standards of Family Centres.” The partners meeting took place in Freiburg, Germany from 28 to 30 November. Radostina Antonova from the Know How Centre for Alternative Care for children participated in the study visit by an invitation from Tulip Foundation.
Jana Herzberg from BAG Familienbildung und Beratung e. V., Berlin presented “Chances for Parents” project which goal is to improve the wellbeing of families, as well as to reduce inequality, poverty risk and social exclusion through the preventive effects of family education. Under that federal program specialists nationwide receive further education and training in parent and family education on the basis of a professionally tested curriculum especially tailored to the needs of families, by offering the service of so called “Companions for Parents” in order to support parents.
Prof. Dr. Dörte Weltzien, Vice Dean of Research at the Protestant University of Applied Sciences, Freiburg spoke about resilience. The University is managing an inclusive kindergarten that is very close to a residential home for asylum seekers. Children that have never been to a kindergarten before can go there together with their parents. Children with Dawn syndrome are also included in the groups. Their leading concept is to provide them with time and space to play and build relationships among children, parents and staff. Prof. Weltzien stressed on the importance of the role of professionals working with children.
Uta Reuter, Department „Day care Centres become Family Centres“, project leader and trainer at Das Diakonische Werk der Evang. Landeskirche in Baden e.V., Karlsruhe said that networking is the most important part of the family center. Institutions can never take the care and responsibility for the child. The most important persons to a child are their parents. “You should always ask people what they want and this is participation. Don’t look only at the needs! People want to talk, to meet each other, to drink coffee, to do something together” she shared. The unofficial networks that they create are very important and helpful and you should provide space, encourage and support this.
Ute Fabacher, Head of Family Centre at Karlsruhe talked about their center where the nursery is in the same building with a home for elderly. One of the regular activities is cooking - several times a month older people from the home, children from kindergarten and their parents get together to cook. They prepare let’s say 30 cakes and the next day all the inhabitants of the city are invited to the center for a cake, coffee and conversations. At the center they celebrate Father's Day through a variety of activities for all fathers from the community, and separately a few times a month they are organising special evenings or Saturdays for children and dads. They are working also with refugees from the refugee center – they talk, play, drink coffee, sing, meet, have drums workshops, concerts, tea room, women meetings, they laugh and cry together.
At the end of the first day Christoph Hinske from the Institute of strategic clarity coordinated a workshop on social impact investigators, global change management, system dynamics, shared intentions, unconscious competences, impact resilience social networks, impact investments and system modelling.
On the next day we visited the Family Centre in Lauchringen where the Managing director Andreas Harder presented the activities in the centre which offers different activities, social services and a café for children, youth, adults and the whole neighbourhood.
The colleagues form Germany presented in details the concept and the activities of the family centres. The idea is that the family centre supports all children, youth and older people in the neighborhood or the settlement. The centre’s role is to support their children and families to develop their own potential and be independent, to offer opportunities for quality life, to promote educational opportunities. The leading values are open doors, warm welcoming, cozy and inclusive environment, trust, respect and acceptance of each newcomer, mutual interest and equality. There are four general types of family centres. These include “Everything under one roof”, “Pilot”, “gallery” model which is a combination of the first two and “Network” where different institutions work together.
The hosting organisations provide us with copies of relevant documents and policies including:
Time for the Family. Family Time Policy as an Opportunity for Sustainable Family Policy. Eight Family Report of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth;
Ways in which children and young people can participate, and their voluntary commitment. Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth;
The ElterngeldPlus with partnership bonus and more flexible parental leave. Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth;
Where people of all generations meet. The Action Programme Multigenerational Centres II. Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth;
Protection of Young Persons Act;
Ideal workers and ideal parents. Working-time norms and the acceptance of part-time and parental leave at the workplace in Germany. Working paper of the Institute of Hans-Boeckler Foundation;
The ideal of educational partnerships, Bertelsmann Foundation.