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Emergency Early Childhood Development Support for Ukrainian Refugees

The Emergency Early Childhood Development Support for Ukrainian Refugees (ECDUR) project will aim to provide emergency support to Ukranian families with children who have, or at risk of developmental delays and have been displaced in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Poland or Moldova.

Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that more than 7 million people have fled their homes and crossed into neighbouring countries.

Over 2 million children have fled Ukraine since the outbreak of war in February 2022. Around 600,000 are young children, under the age of five, and many of them have developmental risks, delays, or difficulties. Families of children with, or at risk of developmental difficulties are struggling to access support services in all parts of Europe. In many cases, being unable to access support, therapy, or early intervention, as well as trauma related to displacement, may negatively affect child development and wellbeing.

Some of the critical issues in service provision include:

  • The lack of trained professionals to provide family-centred Early Childhood Intervention and parental counseling on early childhood development (ECD).
  • Weak national Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) systems are not able to meet the demand of the domestic population, nor expand the provision to refugee children and parents in need.


In July 2022, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) launched an 18-month partnership project that will:

  • Increase the availability of trained Family Consultants who will provide ECD parental counselling and support to children at risk of or with developmental difficulties, including delays and disabilities. 
  • Support system strengthening for the provision of ECI services in host countries.
  • Raise awareness of the importance of early support for developing the potential for every child as well as build awareness around the main problems identified around ECI at both a national and EU level.

The initiative is being implemented in Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova, and Bulgaria.

Target Groups

  • Ukrainian refugee parents and family members of children with, or at risk of developmental delay
  • Ukrainian refugee professionals with a background in childhood development
  • Support service providers in the partner countries
  • Local and national policy makers
  • EU policy makers
  • General public


  • Training of 40 Emergency Early Childhood Development Trainers, who will go onto train Ukrainian refugees and provide ongoing support.
  • Training of 500 refugee professionals with a background in childhood development to enable them to provide emergency support to families with children with, or at risk of, developmental difficulties. 
  • Training of 800 refugee parents to enable them to provide peer-to-peer parental support groups to other displaced families.
  • Research into the capacity of social sectors in border countries to Ukraine to respond to refugees coming from Ukraine.
  • Development of an individual National Plans for building up capacity of social sectors with concrete measures for them to be able to deliver ECI and other services to children with disabilities, including those displaced due to the Ukraine war.
  • Tailored national capacity building activities to support the implementation of these plans.
  • Awareness raising events at an EU and National level to raise awareness for the main problems around ECI at both national and EU levels and possible solutions.

Project News


July 2022-December 2023

National Partners

  • Keystone Moldova, Moldova
  • FONSS, Romania
  • National Network for Children, Bulgaria
  • Imago Foundation, Poland
  • TENENET, Slovakia


Lyzaveta Drannikova, EASPD,