EASPD prepared a paper as input to the written consultation to the European Committee of the Regions on the “Future plan for care workers and care services - local and regional opportunities in the content of a European Challenge”.
The report highlighted the following critical points:
- Social care and support services are essential and need to be recognised as such.
- EU funds and policies need to further facilitate the transition from institutional care to community-based services in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR).
- Ensure access to person-centred and empowering services in the community.
- Investment in human resources strategies for the recruitment and retention of a highly skilled workforce, ensuring ongoing training and re-training of the staff.
- Person-centred technology developments may promote the population’s independence and quality of life of persons with care and support needs and further support the workforce by improving occupational health and safety.
- There is a clear need for a different landscape of services to meet each person’s needs, wishes and preferences. To achieve that we need to change not only the way we develop services but also the way we fund services and the way we recruit and train the staff working in such services.
The consultation highlighted to the Commission the challenges for care worker, staff shortages were also exacerbated during the pandemic, together with other challenges including:
- Difficult working conditions,
- Increasing bureaucracy,
- Poor/uncompetitive wages,
- Lack of recognition and appreciation from the broader society
- Increasing ageing workforce and gender imbalance.
Furthermore, EASPD outlined that the main challenge in the care sector is the transition from institutional care to community-based services (de-institutionalisation). Currently there are 1.4 million people living in institutions and despite the DI efforts in some countries, people with intellectual disabilities are most likely still living in institutional settings. It is imperative to strengthen the social services sector to facilitate the transition to care and support services in the community in line with the principles of the UN CRPD and the EPSR.
The EU Commission’s initiatives in 2021, such as the Strategy on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Action Plan on the Pillar of Social Rights, the upcoming Child Guarantee and the Action Plan for the Social Economy shall further support the sector to become more resilient and future-proof.
To read the letter in full, click here.
For more information, please contact Konstantina Leventi, Policy & Project Officer