Dear friends, an Early Childhood Development and Early Intervention round table was held on June 5th, organized by initiative of Karin Don in partnership with Varna Municipality. The meeting at Varna City Hall opened Dr. Lydia Marinova (Deputy Chairman of the Municipal Council and Representative of the Bulgarian Municipalities at UNICEF Advisory Board on Early Intervention), for whom Early Childhood Intervention is also a personal cause. At the meeting, we shared common concern not only for children’s health but also for the well-being of the family, for the need of coordinated support for children but also for their mothers and parents from the very beginning.
We would like to thank Dr. Papazov and midwife Ruseva from St. Anna Hospital, Dr. Zlatinova and Dr. Sandlulova from Obstetric and Gynecology Hospital in Varna, Dr. Djankova from DMSGD Vinitsa, Dr. Marinova from the Municipal Council of Varna, Mrs. Tanya Vassileva and Mrs. Georgieva from Social and Healthcare Directorates at Varna Municipality , Silvena Hristova from Life with Down Syndrome Association, the Markovi family – parents of Mario, Mrs. Lyutskanova and the pedagogical counselor Ms. Docheva from Margaritka kindergarten, Mrs. Gergana Encheva – Regional Coordinator of the National Network for Children, Mrs. Grigorova from the Agency for Social Support, Mrs. Biyacheva from the Community Center, and Ivan Portnih, Mayor of Varna, for their support and willingness to discuss such topics and to create long-term partnerships!
During the meeting, Maya Doneva, CEO of Karin Dom, said: “We will not go into detail on how important it is to support children throughout their lives, and why the first 3 years are crucial to everything ahead, but I will only tell you one thing – today we gathered representatives of Education, Health and Social sectors together with the parents and the civil sector, and we discussed about 2 hours constructively. Even on a national level, this is difficult and rare to happen. Without an ongoing project, no loud titles in the media – simply because we want to cooperate and become aware of the expertise of each and every one of us, and we know that only through cooperation, respect and understanding we can create an environment where every child develops his or her potential, despite the diagnosis, condition and challenges.”
We are committed to drafting a summary of the day called “Achievements and Challenges” at the regional level to be sent to the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria – NAMRB and all relevant institutions. For our joy and pride, Varna is the first municipality in Bulgaria (and for a long time the only one) that recognizes the meaning and added value of Early Intervention as a social service and supports it as a delegated activity from its own budget at local level.
Karin Dom started the program in 2010 and by the end of May 2019 a total of 857 children were enrolled. We currently work with 60 families on average, 40 of which Varna Municipality finances as a delegated activity. The good news is that from the next year, early intervention also becomes a national policy, and such services are to be developed across the country in the long run rather than on a project basis.
And what does early intervention mean? In a simple language, when the parent notices that the child’s development is lagging behind in a certain area and worries “whether everything is right”, even before the baby has reached the age of one, then they can turn to the Early Intervention team at Karin Dom. Our multidisciplinary team consists of physical therapist, speech therapists, special teachers, psychologist, social worker and nursing consultants who visit the child at home and track the development of the child up to the age of 3. Our team is also involved at the maternity hospital, supporting parents in the most difficult time after the birth of a child at risk.
We want to deliver an important message to parents – not to postpone the meeting with a specialist, and the sooner the intervention, the better the chances and outcomes. Special and huge BRAVO to our colleagues from the Early Intervention team who do all this in practice and support many, many families every day! These are Svetlana Angelova, Elena Todorova, Marina Peycheva, Svetla Lazarova, Veronika Valcheva, Vladislava Doncheva, Petya Georgieva. ❤️
We hope that through this forum we have started a discussion and series of new meetings and important decisions in the name of the most valuable – the children!