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Work on the ECI Greece Project continues to move forward

The project looks to support the Greek government in developing a modern evidence-based legislative and financial framework for early childhood intervention services.

The early years are the most formative in children's lives as they set the foundations for their lifelong development, and it is therefore crucial to endure the availability of quality Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) services. Throughout the past year, EASPD has continued to work on the “Technical Support to implement reforms to support the development of family centred early childhood intervention services in Greece”, otherwise known as the ECI Greece project, funded by DG REFORM and implemented by EASPD in cooperation with the European Commission.

The project looks to support the Greek government in developing a modern evidence-based legislative and financial framework for early childhood intervention services. The quality and adapted care and support provided by ECI services will be a crucial step towards deinstitutionalisation and the effective inclusion in society of children with disabilities and their families. 

During the last week of September 2022, EASPD hosted its second transnational meeting in Athens, Greece, holding meetings with various stakeholders to evaluate progress thus far.

On the first day, meetings were held with both the European Commission and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to discuss the process and gather feedback on the deliverables. Focus was on the country report, which looks to shed light on the current state of play of ECI in Greece through four key chapters:

1.     Definition of family-centered ECI in the Greek context

2.     Mapping of Services in Greece

3.     Funding of Services

4.     The needs of ECI Service Providers

Further, EASPD shared a progress update on the creation of awareness-raising materials which will be targeted, amongst others, at public authorities, assessment services, medical staff, and families. Materials include a factsheet on ECI, a series of short videos, a logo and motto, a project website, an illustrated children’s book, and a booklet on Inspiring Practices on ECI across Europe.

EASPD met with the Greek service providers who are currently taking part in a year-long piloting process. The providers have undergone a series of trainings across the past few months on family-centred ECI methodologies, providing these ECI professionals with more concrete guidance on assessment tools and coaching skills. The pilot implementation will be assessed to measure differences between the service provided before and after the process.

Day two included meetings with key stakeholders in Greece committed to supporting a family centred ECI approach. Some of the partners involved included the parent’s association (POSGAMEA), UNICEF, ECI service providers in Greece, representatives from the Ministry of Education and The Greek "NETWORK" of Service Providers for People with Disabilities. Members discussed, amongst others, the fifth work package, which revolves around the creation of the roadmap and the proposal for a holistic policy and legal framework or ECI in Greece.

The next steps of the project will focus on the creation of the ECI Agora; the agora will look to bring together a community of key actors supporting the development of family-centred ECI, who will serve as ambassadors in their respective fields.  Awareness-raising workshops will also be held starting from the end of 2022 to discuss early childhood intervention, present family-centred ECI processes in the aims of developing a common vision. EASPD will also begin to work on the drafting of the Action Plan in the coming months.