Promotion of Positive Behaviour and Social Emotional Development in Institutional Care: The Case of One Home-Shelter in Latvia

Promotion of Positive Behaviour and Social Emotional Development in Institutional Care: The Case of One Home-Shelter in Latvia

Dita Nimante (University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia), Linda Daniela (University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia) and Baiba Martinsone (University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJSEUS.2018100106
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Personnel working in institutional care have the important role of providing for the development of children who have experienced the trauma of being separated from their families. Personnel need to be emotionally responsive, able to form consistent, trusting, and long-term relationships with children, believe in them, support them in continuing education, and have high expectations for them. Despite these facts, there is no Latvian legal requirement for personnel working in institutional care to have a pedagogical education. This article describes the implementation of two professional in-service training programs: “Promotion of Positive Behaviour in Children with Institutional Care Experience” and “Social Emotional Development” in one children's home-shelter and the effects of the programs at the level of personnel, children, and organization.
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Children In Institutional Care In Latvia

Institutional care in Latvia is one of the common ways of caring for children who, for various reasons, are not able to live with their families. Although the number of children in institutions is decreasing every year, there are still too many children living there. For example, in 2004 there were 3,396 (0—17-year-old) children in institutional care (Klāsons et al., 2008), but in 2016, there were 1,225 children in institutional care (Bērni Latvijā [Children in Latvia], 2017).

On December 4, 2013, the Guidelines for the Development of Social Services for 2014-2020 were approved by the Cabinet of Ministers Decree No.589. One of the main directions of the guidelines was deinstitutionalisation. This concept refers to the process of developing community-based services, with family-like and child-friendly environments, including preventive measures to prevent the need for institutional care. The process of deinstitutionalisation has started in Latvia, but it will take some time to change the existing institutional care system. Legally, institutional care (in Latvia - social care institutions) provide housing, full care, and social rehabilitation to people who cannot take care of themselves, due to health, as well as orphans and children without parental care. In 2016 there were 45 such institutions. The Children's institutional home-shelter where the in-service programs were studied is one of the 30 social care centres founded by local governments and other organisations, located 60 kilometres from the capital city of Latvia. In 2017, this home-shelter housed 35 children from ages 3 to 17.

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