Stichting SOFT tulip, National Association of People with Disabilities of Ukraine, Charitable Foundation Early Intervention Center of Kharkiv, Dzherelo Day Care and Rehabilitation Center of Lviv, Path of Life Center for Complex Rehabilitation of Uzhgorod
the Netherlands
Eric Bloemkolk,

Building of an Early Childhood Intervention system in Ukraine

The intervention “Building of an Early Childhood Intervention system in Ukraine” is based on the strategy that was developed for building four good ECI practices in four pilot regions and combines lobbying and advocacy at the regional and national level. The experience gained during the four pilots form the basis for the policies at the national level.

At the national level we stimulated the creation of the National Council on ECI; to develop national policies, regulations and financing mechanisms; for coordination and lobby & advocacy; and for the input from the NGO ECI service providers and parents organisations from the four pilot regions. The health, social policy and education sectors and NGO actors are stimulated and encouraged by the consortium partners to work in partnership. A train the trainer course for ECI professionals was provided and a national team of certified trainers is created.

At the regional and local level, the ECI systems are developed in practice. The four pilot practices feed in the policy development on both regional and national levels, for which coordination is needed between all stakeholders. Civil servants from state bodies and state and NGO care providers are informed about and trained in the principles of ECI, and in multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary work. The ECI concepts are realized in the four existing NGO ECI service providers (who are recognized as the ‘methodological centers’). In the four pilot regions, ECI policy platforms are developed on community, city, rayon, and regional level. Meanwhile, the government approved six more pilot regions based on the experiences in the four initial pilot regions. Other governmental and non-governmental institutions are introducing ECI concepts in their work. In 2020, 31 ECI-teams operate in 10 regions. To ensure the quality of ECI services, training and supervision of the staff is crucial. NAPD, SOFT Tulip and the Ukrainian network of four ECI centers operate as an informal consortium from where the dialogue with all mayor stakeholders takes place. Simultaneously, the All-Ukrainian Parents Forum for Early Intervention (AUPFEI) is functioning in 10 regions. The parents’ forum pro-actively advocates for ECI services at the local, regional and national levels. The purpose is to mobilize NGOs, established and led by parents, and strengthen their potential to effectively advocate for ECI by providing training, network building, developing communication and relationships at the local, regional and national levels.

An important aspect of the strategy are the many training sessions for ECI professionals, that have been provided by care experts from the network of Dutch care service providers, affiliated to SOFT Tulip.