Quality Standards in Out-of-home Child Care in Europe
SOS Children's Villages, IFCO (International Foster Care Organisation) and FICE (Fédération Internationale des Communautés Educatives), developed a set of quality standards for out-of-home child and youth care in Europe in order to improve the care situation for hundreds of thousands of concerned young people. The Quality4Children standards were developed through a participatory (method) approach: the Storytelling method. The standards’ principal strength lies in the use of this participatory method. More than 500 people (332 were storytellers) with experience in out-of-home child contributed to the development of the Q4C Standards. Nearly half of them were children, young people and young adults with care experience; the other half was made up of biological and foster families, caregivers, social workers and other stakeholders.
A total of 32 European countries participated in the project. There are 18 standards, which have been divided into three chapters: Decision-making and admission process, Care-taking process and Leaving-care process. Some of the core themes reflected in the standards are for instance participation and empowerment; right of siblings to be cared together; communication, understanding and respect, etc.
The Quality4Children Standards were launched in June 2007 at theEuropean Parliament.
Since then, progress has been made in many European countries. For instance, the Maltese Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity used the Q4C Standards as a basis for their "National Standards for Residential Child Care”. In Austria, Germany and Luxemburg, caregivers in child-care facilities use them to monitor their work and several educational institutions use them as part of their teaching programmes.
Quality4Children currently aims at:
- promoting the adoption and use of the standards nationally and internationally
- supporting the implementation of the standards in the three organisations;
- supporting and promoting child and youth participation.
More information to be found at: www.quality4children.info