The draft of the new State Grants Plan of the Social Welfare Services of the Deputy Ministry of Social Welfare was put to public consultation on Wednesday with the responsible Deputy Minister, Anastasia Anthousi, emphasizing that with the new State Grants Plan, totaling €23,725,000, “we aim to strengthen of the social support network for children and people with long-term care needs”.
In greeting her during the presentation of the basic provisions of the new State Sponsorship Plan, which was made by the Director of Services Maria Kyratzi and includes the granting of state sponsorship, amounting to €23,725,000, which will be drawn from the EU's Recovery and Resilience Mechanism for creation of Multipurpose Centers for Children and Child Care Centers (€13.72 million) and care and hospitality structures for children, adolescents with behavioral disorders and adults with long-term care needs (€9.99 million), Ms. Anthousi said that the new Plan has been adapted to be in line with the “Cyprus_Tomorrow” Recovery and Resilience Plan, but also “to respond to the Government's integrated plan for the creation of a state of welfare, progress and development”.
The closing date for written comments in the context of the public consultation is 12.00 on November 21, 2022, while the time frame for the implementation of the investments is until June 30, 2026.
The grant possibility amounts to 75% of the project expenditure with a maximum amount of funding per project of €500,000, while for certain categories of projects the grant possibility may amount to 100% of the project expenditure with a maximum amount of funding of €500,000. Potential beneficiaries are Non-Profit Organizations, Local Government Authorities and partnerships.
“Through the Plan, we are investing an amount of €23,725,000 that will be granted to Non-Governmental Organizations and Local Government Authorities, so that the creation of at least 27 Multipurpose Centers for Children aged 0 to 4 years and 6 to 13 years old, as well as Child Care Centers aged 0 to 4 years”, he said and added that “with a time horizon for the completion of the program in the first half of 2026 and an intermediate goal of initially creating 10 structures by the end of 2024, our aim is to strengthen the welfare state, promoting social inclusion and prosperity”.
In her greeting, the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare announced that “with the aim of the most correct distribution of resources as possible, the mapping of the existing structures has already begun, by an external expert, which will highlight the areas in which there are gaps in the provision of services and will contribute targeting investments where and where there is a real need”.
He stated that in order to achieve the goal of strengthening the social support network for children and people with long-term care needs and to strengthen the welfare state, in addition to the role of the State in promoting initiatives and their supervision, “we consider it necessary to activate and involve Non-Governmental Organizations and Local Government Authorities, as social partners of the State”.
“We are convinced that the inclusion of Local Authorities and Non-Governmental Organizations in the policies we promote acts as a catalyst in our effort to strengthen local societies and ensure the required services for people with real care needs”, he underlined.
At the same time, interrelated goals of the Government, through the implementation of the Plan, according to Ms. Anthousi, “is to increase access opportunities to the labor market, especially for women, to upgrade and empower mountainous and remote areas through mapping the real gaps, and to offer equal inclusion and integration of all children and adults with long-term care needs in care services”.
Stating that the well-being, care and safeguarding of the rights of children, adolescents and adults in need of continuous care are an investment in the future of the country, the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare said that “the Government Anastasiadis has set high in its plans and recognizes that ensuring adequate care services is interconnected with a number of other strategies', such as, among others, the National Strategy for the Development of Mountainous Areas, integration into the labor market and the reduction of unemployment, strategic planning for the elderly, policy for people with disabilities.
According to the draft of the Plan, the creation of Multipurpose Centers for Children and Child Care Centers includes two actions.
The first action concerns the preparation of a project/study to “support the expansion and strategic development of pre-primary education and care in Cyprus” with a total budget of €500,000. The implementing body of the project is the Social Welfare Services in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth.
The 24-month project (8/2022 – 7/2024) is implemented by UNICEF in collaboration with the European Commission through the EU's “Technical Support Instrument” program and the CARDET center is a subcontractor for specific actions in Cyprus.
< p>With reference to action 2 of the project concerning the creation of Multipurpose Centers for Children and Child Care Centers, the objectives are to strengthen the availability of quality structures for child care and social development, to increase the participation in the labor market of people who take care of children, mainly women and the contribution to gender equality, the reconciliation of family and working life and equal opportunities for all.
The creation of these structures will be done through the new plan of state grants to local self-government authorities (ATA). and NGOs.
Regarding the milestones to be achieved, by December 31, 2024 at least 10 ATAs or NGOs should have received funding to create or expand/upgrade Multipurpose Centers or Care Centers Children.
Accordingly, by June 30, 2026, at least 27 ATAs or NGOs should have received the funding, including the initial 10 ATAs or NGOs.
In relation to the creation of new specialized structures for children, adolescents with behavioral disorders and people with long-term care needs, the objectives are to support Cyprus in fulfilling its obligations in terms of providing care and ensuring the rights of unaccompanied minors who enter it , covering the housing and other needs of children and adolescents with special difficulties who are under the legal care of the state and addressing gaps in long-term care services.
This specific investment also covers actions to strengthen the supported living in the community of people with disabilities for which the implementing body is the Department of Social Integration of People with Disabilities.
Important actions of the specific investment, according to the Plan, are the purchase of 3 new state child protection structures in the provinces of Limassol and Paphos, but also the creation of new accommodation structures (houses) for children aged 13-18 years under the legal care of the state mainly unaccompanied minors as well as the creation of a specialized home for pregnant minors and young mothers with infants who are under the legal care of the state, the creation of day centers and specialized homes for teenagers with behavioral disorder symptoms, the creation of the child's 2nd home and the creation 24-hour care structures for adults with long-term care needs.
Regarding the time targets set by the Plan, by December 31, 2024, assistance should have been provided to at least 9 ATA or NGOs to create or upgrade of structures for children, adolescents with behavioral disorders and people with long-term care needs and respectively up to 3 June 0, 2026 assistance should have been provided to at least 18 ATA or NGOs including the 9 above.