Date: 22-03-2017

For Our Children Foundation holds round-table for the creation of national early childhood strategy

For Our Children Foundation’s round-table, entitled “From policies to outcomes – ECD services in the spotlight,” highlighted the main principles for the creation of the first national strategy for Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Bulgaria. The round-table, held on March 9, 2017, included discussions about the application of integrated approaches and services in ECD. It also focused on how these approaches and services could be implemented into ECD policies, and the realization of specific results stemming from these policies. Ivanka Shalapatova, Executive Director of the foundation, stressed the need for new policies at the opening of the forum. Ms. Shalapatova said “The mortality among children up to 1 year in Bulgaria is still much higher than the EU average and its rate has increased for the first time in many years. Nearly 44% of Bulgarian children live at risk of poverty and social exclusion, and the number of children in public care remains high. According to the Barcelona targets agreed between EU member states, the 95% of children between 4 years-old and the age of entry into primary school should be in forms of early education and care; in Bulgaria this rate is 86.6%. I am deeply concerned about the statistic for the range of children aged 0 to 3 attending early education and care. With the agreed European target of 33%, in Bulgaria it is only 7%. This means that our country is in a very difficult situation, for the solution of which we need serious human energy and engagement above the usual responsibilities we have.” The round-table included more than 50 experts from non-governmental organizations, institutions and local authorities. Representatives of the National Association of the Municipalities in Republic of Bulgaria, UNICEF, National Network for Children, European Commission also took part in this forum. To read more on the round-table, follow this link.