Deinstitutionalisation of children with disabilities: Process, progress and challenges in South-East Europe

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Fazlić, Muamer
Kalem, Melina
Latić, Esma
Rasiti, Gresa
Milić, Nikolina
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Global Campus of Human Rights
More than a decade since Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Serbia made a commitment to gradually close their institutions for children with disabilities, the process of exchanging institutional with family-based care seems to be stalling. These countries have an immediate Socialist/Communist past where, as some authors argue, there is a legacy of heavy institutionalisation of persons with disabilities that creates one of the key challenges related to ending disability-based deprivation of liberty of children in South-East Europe. Although some progress has been made, children with disabilities are still overrepresented in institutions, sometimes due solely to poverty and limited community-based support to families who would otherwise be able to take care of their children. This article seeks to explore the root causes of heavy institutionalisation of children with disabilities in South-East Europe while discussing the key challenges in the process of managing the transition from institutional care to community living in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Serbia. Key words: deprivation of liberty; children; children with disabilities; institutions; deinstitutionalisation; South-East Europe
children with disabilities, institutional care, South Eastern Europe
N Milić, G Rasiti, E Latić, M Kalem & M Fazlić ‘Deinstitutionalisation of children with disabilities: Process, progress and challenges in South-East Europe’ (2020) 4 Global Campus Human Rights Journal 375-402