On the 7 December, the Council of the European Union adopted Council Conclusions on Enhancing Community-Based Support and Care for Independent Living. The Conclusions emphasise the need for Member States and the European Commission to initiate an “open public debate on increasing the availability of community-based support and care options”.
The overall message is clear: steps towards the acceleration of the transition from institutional to community-based care need to be taken as from now to ensure every citizen – including persons with support needs - can enjoy their rights.
The Conclusions come as a result of a very positive cooperation between the European Expert Group on transition from institutional to community-based care, of which EASPD is a part of, with the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU, and they had been previously discussed during a conference on deinstitutionalization that took place in Estonia in October 2017.
We are pleased to read a strong focus on innovation as one of the key elements in the provision of individualized support, as well as the recognition of staff as necessary players to provide person-centred support that is empowering individuals and allows them to enjoy their rights. Also, training and appropriate qualification is clearly indicated as essential to this extent.
While recognising the responsibility of Member States for policy issues, the Conclusions highlight the function of European institutions as promotors of social care reforms, steering the debate and providing financial support through the European Structural and Investment Funds under the thematic objective of promoting social inclusion and combating poverty.
EASPD welcomes the commitment undertaken by the Member States and the recommendation to keep the need for social policy reforms high on the political agenda. As leading representative of support services in the disability field, EASPD will continue to cooperate with the different stakeholders to promote the effective transition towards community-based support systems that can meet individual needs and wishes to contribute effectively to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.