The project ‘FACT FOR MINORS – Fostering Alternative Care for Troubled Minors’ intends to address children hosted by alternative care communities (or socio-educational communities) as a consequence of penal measures. In particular, this proposal will focus on children with psychological, psychiatric or personality disorders in alternative care. By so doing, this project will not only address the area of the rights of the child but will also seek to enhance the child protection systems in the five partner countries involved.

This project regards in fact alternative care communities as potentially playing an outstanding role in determining the child’s future. In this view, the project aims at reinforcing the capacity of alternative care communities in the partner countries to adequately support and respond to the “special” needs of the children with psychiatric disorders. The special needs these children bring about require an integrated approach – both therapeutic and socio-educational.

The division of tasks and responsibilities between the various competent agencies and actors in regards to children with psychological, psychiatric or personality disorders in alternative care is rarely well defined and this may cause uncertainty about who should be responsible for what. As a result, the lack of proper care often entails severe consequences for these children – both in clinical terms, with the growth of chronical diseases; and in social terms, with children becoming more vulnerable and hence at risk of future delinquency.

The project aims at improving a) the rights of children in alternative care under penal measures who develop psychological or personality disorders; b) the overall protection system of the countries involved. To achieve these goals the project will primarily target all professionals working for or with these children by involving professionals in a capacity building process. At the end of such process, alternative care professionals are expected to have improved their knowledge of these children’s needs; of the most adequate communication tools and strategies to address them; of the child protection system and functioning in their countries; and of the overall existing networks (agencies and professionals) involved in the system.

National institutions and public bodies of the 5 involved partner countries are also expected to experience change as a result of the project activities. These public entities will be involved in the coordination project activities and will be requested to participate in the National Advisory Boards that have as a main task that of identifying the major institutional actors and provide essential guidelines for their correct involvement in adequately responding to the needs of children with mental health disorders in alternative care. The project is expected to achieve the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between those main public entities in each of the 5 participating countries.

Children in alternative care under penal measures will be the final but most relevant beneficiaries of this project. Although project activities will not involve direct work with children, the latter will be benefited as a result of both the capacity building activities with professionals (WS2); and the inter-agency and multi-disciplinary cooperation efforts boosted by the project (WS1). Children with mental health disorders in alternative care communities are expected to experience improved and more efficient responses to their peculiar needs. In particular, they should be guaranteed a smooth access to both socio-educational and therapeutic care, as much as possible adequate to their age and condition.

The project partnership is composed by 9 Project Partners, coming from 6 European Member States (IT, DE, PT, FI, ES, and BE):

  • CNCA, National confederation of socio-educational communities, Italy (APPLICANT);
  • Psychoanalytic Institute for Social Research (IPRS), Italy;
    Istituto Don Calabria, Italy;
  • Juvenile Justice Ministry, Dept of Community studies, (JJD) Italy;
    Christliches Jugenddorf Deutschland (CJD), Germany;
  • Catholic University of Porto (CUP), Portugal;
  • Finnish Youth Research Network , Finland;
  • Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Deu (PSSJD),Spain;
  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO), Belgium

And 4 Public Agencies who intend to participate and support the initiative:

  • Behörde für Arbeit, Soziales, Familie und Integration, (BASFI), Hamburg, Germany
  • Justice Ministry – Portugal;
  • The National Institute for Health and Welfare’;
  • Justice Ministry Catalunya – Spain