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Care

The economic crisis in Europe has also had an impact on care services. Securing quality childcare or care for the elderly, be it long-term or short-term, is proving more challenging and more expensive than ever. Many people are finding it more and more difficult to afford quality care for loved ones, particularly those who are of middle or lower incomes.

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The inability to afford care services could be described as a double-edged sword in the sense that it prevents parents from working and earning a wage, which could otherwise contribute towards the care of children and loved ones. Elsewhere, people are being forced to make sacrifices on other needs like food, clothing, etc. in order to pay for - often overpriced - care services.

Cuts being made to social welfare and other social services only aggravate the situation. On the other hand, this has led people to be more resourceful and to take action into their own hands, so to say. In Italy, self-organised (and affordable) childcare facilities like Casa di tutti le gente give parents the freedom to work, while knowing that their child is in a safe and secure environment. Confabitarte, an association of condominium residents in Bologna, Italy, has developed a "shared care worker” system, which provides for the needs of the resident elderly in a manner that is practical and economical.

In terms of government policy, some efforts are being made in an attempt to relieve pressure on the population. In the UK for example, some parents will be able to claim back up to £1,200 a year for each child - or 20% of childcare costs - from 2015, under upcoming government plans. The government says it expects this new tax-free childcare scheme to eventually help 2.5 million working families.

Outlined below are just a few examples of the different initiatives being set-up by local citizens and civil society, as well as a summary of the types of policy measures that are either in place or have been proposed by the various governments. States need to realise that it is in their interest to invest in care services, since being unable to work not only hurts people financially and emotionally, it is also bad for the economy and thus, the overall well-being of the country.

Please Note: examples of ACTIONS (in orange) and POLICIES (in green)

Care.PNG (266.74 Kb) Picture by Confabitare, Casa di tutti le gente, Chiot's Run

Sharing or pooling of resources

In the face of failed or inadequate government policy in the provision of care services, many people have taken alternative routes and started their own (local) initiatives. In each of these cases, a group of persons in a community has pooled their resources (skills, money, time) to respond to common needs such as child care, home care and various other forms of support. * Please find below examples of the different types of self-organised (local) action, providing alternative forms of care, that are emerging across Europe.

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Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko

Auteur : Mariani Papanikolau - Publié le : 2013-08-01 12:13 -

The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko provides free medical assistance to the unemployed, and poor civilians with no social security or with very little income.

Shared Condominium

Auteur : alessandra sciurba - Publié le : 2013-04-26 12:58 -

Confabitare, an association of residents of condominiums, owners or tenants, organised within a single project of two actions: 1 - Organisation within the condominium of a shared food expenditure through a condominium purchasing group. 2 - Sharing of caring needs for the elderly through a shared "care worker" of the condominium.

Comunità La Zattera (The Raft Community)

Auteur : alessandra sciurba  - Publié le : 2013-04-21 09:22 -

A community of lay Combonian missionaries obtains a space whereby it starts a process of co-habitation by the pooling together of resources. The new space is also aimed at being a place of welcome and hospitality for people in need.

Casa di tutte le genti (All people home)

Auteur : alessandra sciurba - Publié le : 2013-04-03 08:08 -

An Association of women coming from many different countries and pooling their resources in the creation of a collective and self-managed educational institution designed to accommodate children aged from a few months to 12 years in the context of structural inadequacy of public services.

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  • NOTE: Only in the case of Casa di tutti le gente have there been discussions with the municipality (Palermo) about the possibility of being provided with a public space to carry out the services it provides.

Civil Society Organisations (CSO)

Through service provision, CSOs contribute to poverty reduction by “often fulfilling the role that government agencies should provide – for instance, provision of water, waste removal, health/social care or the support of centres that assist particular groups”.

Click Here For Examples
  • Caritas Europa is a European confederation of Catholic relief, development and social service organisations operating in Europe. It consists of 48 national member organisations that are working in 44 European countries. The member organisations are active in combating poverty and social exclusion, which includes the provision of, among others, social and welfare services.

Caritas Europa also works in cooperation with and develops projects co-financed by the EU, e.g. INCLUSION 2011-2013 in order to “advance the social agenda in Europe”.

  • SPAN (Single Parent Action Network) is a UK-based organisation and national network that works to empower and engage disadvantaged one parent families living in poverty and isolation. One of its projects is the SPAN Family and Study Centre, a friendly and welcoming centre where adults and children can access high quality learning opportunities, individual support and meet people from many different cultures and backgrounds.

Government policies – good practice

Social care is a profession committed to the planning and delivery of quality care and other support services for individuals and groups with identified needs. It is crucial therefore, that governments invest in the care sector in order that services are adequate, with trained staff and quality facilities. In this section we see some examples of current or proposed policy measures that are positive in their scope.

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Childcare

  • In the Nordic EU members states childcare is framed as a social right (Denmark, Finland and Sweden).
  • In Finland, the Act on Day Care stipulates that municipalities have to provide childcare at times parents need it, including during the night, the weekend, etc.
  • In Sweden, affordable public childcare constitutes an important part of the social infrastructure which is to further gender equality in the division of paid and unpaid work.
  • Belgium: Parental fees for childcare are income-related. In exceptional cases reduced fees or attendance free of charge is possible.

Other

  • UK’s ‘Draft Bill on Care and Support’: (proposes a single, modern law for adult care and support that replaces existing outdated and complex legislation).
  • Germany’s ‘Care Leave Act’: (gives an option for employees to care for their kin at home for short periods – creates more scope for action and some relief from anxieties). Go here for further information.
  • In Sweden, municipalities are now required by law (the Social Services Act) to support informal caregivers. The rapidly ageing population has turned the policy-makers’ attention to care provided by relatives or friends as opposed to just by the state, the former being increasingly recognised as a partial solution to challenges in this area.

ALL Examples of Actions and Policies

Below are listed the examples of actions (in orange) and policies (in green) collected regarding CARE.

Business centre for people with disabilities

Auteur : Maria Jeliazkova - Publié le : 2013-08-13 15:14 -

By working with and for people with disabilities, the project aims to provide equal opportunities and better life chances for them. The activities simultaneously increase the level of public awareness on issues of people with disabilities and lobby for their rights.

Social Cohesion Houses

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-08-13 10:10 -

The Social Cohesion houses in Wallonia are multidimensional physical entry points for citizens empowerment may it be information/orientation desks, proposed activities and workshops (from prevention/awareness up to leisure and craft) as well as local coordination spaces for local social services providers in the frame of the PCS.

SOCIAL SCHOLARSHIPS IN PRIVATE KINDERGARTEN

Auteur : Claudia Coimbra - Publié le : 2013-07-31 10:51 -

Creating social scholarships for families with low incomes (1st, 2nd and 3rd rank of assignment of family benefits) to provide access to children aged between 3 and 36 months of age to the network of private kindergarten existing in the county.

A buddy near the crib

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-07-26 14:33 -
A buddy near the crib

Perinatal coaching for deprived families: Future midwifes and social workers take up the role of buddy in distressed families during pregnancy, birth and early childhood.

Infirmiers de rue (Street nurses)

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-05-13 08:58 -
Infirmiers de rue

Infirmiers de rue bridges the gap between the streets and health actors to bring care and hygiene to homeless people through an empowering method around people’s dignity, self-esteem and responsibility. Using hygiene as an entry point for self-recovery, the Association ensures long-term support until housing re-insertion.

Shared Condominium

Auteur : alessandra sciurba - Publié le : 2013-04-26 12:58 -

Confabitare, an association of residents of condominiums, owners or tenants, organised within a single project of two actions: 1 - Organisation within the condominium of a shared food expenditure through a condominium purchasing group. 2 - Sharing of caring needs for the elderly through a shared "care worker" of the condominium.

Comunità La Zattera (The Raft Community)

Auteur : alessandra sciurba  - Publié le : 2013-04-21 09:22 -

A community of lay Combonian missionaries obtains a space whereby it starts a process of co-habitation by the pooling together of resources. The new space is also aimed at being a place of welcome and hospitality for people in need.

Time Bank of Athens

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-04-18 13:02 -

The Athens Time Bank was created in May 2011, at Sydagma Square, when thousands of people gathered there to participate in mass strikes and demonstrations.

Casa di tutte le genti (All people home)

Auteur : alessandra sciurba - Publié le : 2013-04-03 08:08 -

An Association of women coming from many different countries and pooling their resources in the creation of a collective and self-managed educational institution designed to accommodate children aged from a few months to 12 years in the context of structural inadequacy of public services.

Frameries Medical House

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-08-12 13:57 -

In Belgium, medical houses are integrated health centres where general practitioners, physiotherapists or nurses organize their work all together to provide first line care in a continuous way. Focus on the unique initiative launched by a local authority in Wallonia (Belgium)

Night Solidarity Eateries

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-06-18 08:45 -

The Paris City Council has launched 6 night solidarity restaurants to enable destitute persons to access quality food by taking the time to sit down and eat in a nice atmosphere.

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