Children and Disability in Transition in CEE/CIS and Baltic States

UNICEF; Dowling, Monica; Foy, Joy and Fajth, Gaspar (2005). Children and Disability in Transition in CEE/CIS and Baltic States. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, Italy.

URL: http://www.unicef.org/ceecis/Disability-eng.pdf

Abstract

This research was commissioned by the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre as part of a larger MONEE (Monitoring Eastern Europe) project covering countries in transition – the 27 nations of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The MONEE Social Report combines qualitative and quantitative material in the 2005 Publication ‘Children and Disability in Transition’ (www.unicef-icdc.org)

This report draws upon three new pieces of research that include data, a qualitative survey and first person interviews. The results highlight the legacies of the past, the momentum for change and areas where action is needed. Institutionalisation, segregation and discrimination are still prominent features of the environments in which children with disabilities live across the region. However there are also widespread signs that social attitudes towards disability are changing and there are many concrete examples of ways in which disabled children are being integrated into society.

Many of the challenges that are described by children, young people, parents and providers are challenges that need social policy and medical solutions. This report highlights the need for medical and social practitioners to work alongside each other, despite their professional and theoretical differences, to provide the best social, emotional and physical opportunities for children with disabilities.

The single most important change needed in order to advance the rights of disabled children in the region is to end the common practice of putting these children into institutions and segregated schools. This requires the development of community based resources and better support for families of children with disabilities - important steps in the historic efforts to rebuild democratic civil societies in these transition countries.

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