Riga to support children with functional disorders and their families

To find out the needs of children with functional disorders and their families, the Welfare Department of the Riga City Council has conducted a study, as a result of which a new concept of social services has been developed, as well as a pilot project is planned.

It is planned that during the pilot project parents could have access to a service basket for up to 40 hours a week.

On Wednesday, October 28, the representatives of the Welfare Department informed the deputies of the Social Affairs Committee of the Riga City Council about the conducted research and possible solutions to improve the situation.

“Unfortunately, currently at the national level, families with children with disabilities do not have access to high-quality social services that would allow families to ease their daily steps, so the Riga municipality began to identify possible solutions. This is very important for these families, both to enable parents to participate in the labor market and to be able to participate more fully in public life. To implement the results of the research, additional expenses are needed in next year’s budget, therefore it will be necessary to assess whether and how it will be possible to implement the pilot project by the budget possibilities, ”said the chairman of the committee Viesturs Kleinbergs.

In 2019, 2455 children with disabilities lived in Riga, while 1245 children with functional disorders were in sight of the Riga Social Service. In the municipality, social work services were provided by 11 social workers of the Riga Social Service, who specialize in working with families with children with functional disorders, and in 2019, 299 persons in Riga received social services for families with functional disorders.

The quality of life of families with children with disabilities is affected by conditions related to children with disabilities and the satisfaction of special needs, which consequently affect the family as a whole. Parents often have limited opportunities to realize themselves in the professional field, in the labor market, in the role of parents, and partnerships. Despite the services available in Riga municipality, there is a presumption that the support provided to families with a child with functional disorders is insufficient or does not meet the needs and quality of life of these families. To address this situation, the Department of Welfare conducted a study in the first half of the year.

As a result of the research, a new concept of social service was developed, determining that the target groups of the service are families with children with functional disorders, children with VDEĀK-defined disabilities, and children with VDEĀK-defined disabilities and opinion on the need for special care. The main goal of the service is to create favorable conditions for the social functioning of families with a child with functional disorders.

The specific objectives of the service are to reduce/prevent physical and mental exhaustion for parents, especially if the child is brought up by one parent, to provide continuous, systematic, and full-fledged care, education, rehabilitation, and socialization of a disabled child, to harmonize family relationships and strengthen family financial capacity, and parental involvement in the labor market.

It is planned that after receiving the service, the child’s physical care will be provided, the child’s self-care skills will be promoted, healthy attachment to parents will be created/strengthened, the child’s self-determination and autonomy will be promoted, child safety will be improved, parents will be motivated to get involved in employment.