To mark the celebration of the 2014 European Day of Persons with Disabilities [3.12], EASPD organised several conferences and meetings to follow up the political work that is currently been carried out together with its members.
During the 3rd of December, coinciding with the European Day of Persons with Disabilities, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) held several meetings focused on the work being done together with its members. These meetings were: the Interest Group on Early Intervention, the Standing Committee on Enlargement, the Interest Group on Workforce Development and Human Resources and the Forum on the European Observatory on Human Resources. Standing Committees (SC) are permanent working groups with a mandate from the Board to advice, support and guide the Board and Secretariat. The chair is appointed by the Board for a period of 4 years. The SC represents the interests of EASPD in their own field through active research, policy development, advice, and networking.
Meeting of the Interest Group on Early Intervention
In order to build an effective inclusive society, persons with disabilities have to be included in every step of their lives. From the very early stages of life, we must build on the capabilities, skills and resources of the person and their family, not their deficits. This is precisely why EASPD launched the Interest Group on Early Intervention, to join existing groups on education and employment and cover the whole life-span.
During the meeting of the interest group on early intervention, the group worked on a 3 way approach to improve EASPD knowledge and impact in early intervention. First, the interest group is developing a questionnaire to have a better grasp of the framework in which EASPD members work in early intervention. Second, the group is planning a 2 days training on early intervention to present and exchange best practices. And finally, the group is preparing a conference on early intervention to be held in Moldova.
Meeting of the Interest Group on Workforce Development and Human Resources and EOHR
Even though the IG WD & HR was launched only in Siegen [27-28.03.2014], the group is already very well established and very active. The members met on the 3rd December to discuss various topics amongst which- the development of two projects, the contribution of the group to the position of EASPD on TTIP and the results of the survey done by the groups’ spin-off initiative: the European Observatory on Human Resources (EOHR).
On the 4th December the EOHR group and Jane Lethbridge, the researcher who conducted the survey on staffing issues, held final rounds of interview and discussions in order to formulate the key messages of the collected information. The conclusions of the EOHR and its future goals were then communicated and discussed at the EASPD Board meeting. Details from the discussions results will be made available in due time on the members’ section. The EOHR research report and messages will be published at the beginning of 2015.
Meeting of the Standing Committee on Enlargement
The EASPD December meetings were especially interesting for the committee members as they took part in a twinning initiative together with the Interest Group on Independent Living. Both groups share the common interest in the topic of the correct implementation of the deinstitutionalisation process and supported decision making in practice and decided to establish a collaboration that will support their activities on these topics. As part of the initiative the members participated in several meetings. On the 2nd of December they participated in the Policy Impact Group Seminar where we discussed the results from the European Semester consultations initiated by EASPD in 2014. After the seminar, the two groups travelled to the Netherlands where they had informative and inspiring field visit at the services of Arduin- an organisation which has completely changed through applying the principles of UN CRPD and the Quality of Life approach in its work. Finally on the 3rd December the groups discussed possible common activities and agreed to support each other in collecting and organising models of good practices, teaching materials and relevant research. The SC on Enlargement also decided to extend the deadline for the completion of the online survey on the Independent Living and Legal Capacity of Persons with Disabilities, the results of which will be announced in the first months of 2015. You can learn more about the survey and take part of it by following this link.
Meeting of the Interest Group on Independent Living
The Interest Group on Independent Living works on strategic and practical ways to implement the UN CRPD Art.19 in EASPD's member organisations and collects & exchanges models of good practice in the field of deinstitutionalisation and (supported) housing. It supports the development of instruments facilitating user involvement and independent living and drafts policy recommendation for authorities at all levels. There is no doubt that the European and International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a day of reflection to make society take greater awareness of the rights, needs and opportunities of people with disabilities, thus justifying measures to remove all obstacles hindering their full integration.