ECI Greece: Technical Support to implement reforms to support the development of family centred early childhood intervention services in Greece
For an inclusive society, we need to develop quality, community-based, family-centred early childhood intervention (ECI) services. Early years are the most formative in children's lives as they set the foundations for their lifelong development. Often, children with disabilities are least likely to have access to proper individualised support.
Research has shown that the sooner you start the process of deinstitutionalisation, of including persons with disabilities in the community, the greater success you have for the lowest investment.
The ECI Greece project aims at supporting the Greek government in developing a modern, evidence-based legislative and financial framework for early childhood intervention services as a crucial step towards deinstitutionalisation and the effective inclusion of children with disabilities in society and their families through quality and adapted care and support.
Family-centred ECI services focus on the individual needs of the children and adapt to the needs, the resources and the environment of the families and carers of children with disabilities. They provide holistic support to children with disabilities, engage and empower family, foster child’s development and family’s wellbeing and social participation. By giving the tools to families to support their children, these ECI services manage to:
Improve the outcomes of children, who can have ongoing meaningful support throughout the day and week, adapted to the family everyday life routines, as opposed to only when the therapist is present
Improve the mental health, wellbeing, and confidence of families and carers, who learn to trust more in their children’s abilities and feel they can support them better
Lower the costs of families of supporting children with disabilities, as the support is adapted to the already existing resources and environment of the family
Improve the transition of children with disabilities in mainstream schools, putting them on the path of lifelong inclusion
Empower the medical and social workers community to provide more targeted and effective support and guidance to prospective and new parents of children with disabilities.
In this project, EASPD collaborates with the European Commission and Greek authorities. The role of EASPD is to provide consistent expert advice to the Greek Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in the overall coordination and at practical level. This involved the bringing of know-how from its extensive European network and providing the conditions for sustainable implementation.
This project was designed from the experience of the ECI Agora project (agora-eci.eu) which had similar objectives and outcomes for Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Based on the lessons learnt, ECI Greece will:
- develop a training for Greek service providers based on good practice examples from EU countries,
- pilot these new methodologies for a year,
- develop a comprehensive country report on early childhood intervention in Greece as the groundwork for a shared understanding of what ECI is,
- support awareness-raising activities targeted, among others, at public authorities, assessment services, medical staff, and families,
- develop a Roadmap, an action plan to establish a sustainable and holistic legislative and financial framework that supports family centred ECI.
This project is funded by the European Union's Technical Support Instrument and implemented in co-operation with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support.
Grant agreement number: n.101048313
From September 2021 to September 2023.
Irene Bertana, Senior Policy Officer
+32 2 233 7722
This activity is funded by the European Union via the Structural Reform Support Programme and in co-operation with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support.