The 11th meeting of the Thematic Network on Inclusion of the ESF Transnational Platform took place on the 17th and 18th June 2019 in Brussels (Belgium). On the first day, the TN held, together with the European Commission’s Mutual Learning Programme, a conference on the topic of de-institutionalisation and how EU funding instruments can support the development of community-based services. The second day of the meeting was devoted to an evaluation of the activities, results and work of the TN.
The aim of the conference was to increase knowledge at local, regional and national levels on how to develop measures that support the transition from institutional to community-based care through the use of ESI Funds. Emphasis was placed on the need to strengthen the role played by people with support needs, especially those in vulnerable situations, in shaping the support and services received in community-based settings. Transnational exchange was pointed out as a key driver of the transition towards community-based services, both as a channel of mutual learning and as a tool for project development.
ESF has been a game-changer in the promotion of de-institutionalisation. However, it is key that progress is continued and the wealth of positive examples and good practices become part of a systematic approach towards deinstitutionalization that includes prevention. The ESF+ proposal aims at supporting this pathway, underpinned by a rights-based approach (European Pillar of Social Rights, UNCRPD).
Two specific dimensions of community-based services, such as personal assistance and early intervention, were addressed at the conference in two parallel sessions with practice presentations.
Following this, participants developed recommendations on the next steps needed to advance in deinstitutionalization at different levels (EU, national and through civil society engagement). Next, participants discussed ideas of possible transnational projects that could support the development of community-based approaches to services for people with long-term care needs through ESF.
On the next day, an evaluation session assessed the work of the TN in the present round of transnational cooperation. Building on the results of a survey conducted among members, both the thematic focus and working methods of the TN were examined. Also, ideas and proposals for the future of the network were put forward.