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June 26, 2022

 

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New guidebook on children aging out of institutional care hopes to make their transition to adulthood easier in the Czech Republic

24.6.2022 8:32
The launch of the guidebook Společně po svých (
The launch of the guidebook Společně po svých ("Going Our Own Ways Together") in the Czech Republic. (2022). (PHOTO: Nadační fond Krok domů)

More than 8,000 children in the Czech Republic are currently growing up in institutional care. Every year, 300 of them leave institutions to begin their adult lives, 60 % of whom prove unable to get advice on how to integrate into society and take care of themselves. 

A new book called "Going Our Own Ways Together" (Společně po svých) was published this year by the Krok domů (Going Home) foundation. The organization is now distributing it to all of the Regional Authorities in the country and familiarizing them with its content.

Workshops on the guidebook began in May for caseworkers who focus on social assistance for adults. So far eight regions have held the workshops and the remaining regions will familiarize themselves with the content of the publication during the fall.  

The 80-page illustrated handbook presents advice of a practical nature as well as the experiences of young adults who have already made the transition from institutional care to independent living. According to the Executive Director of Krok domů, Klára Chábová, it has long been the case that Czech society has been unable to listen to what the children who are growing up in institutional care without their parents have to say.   

"Quite frequently it is the case that we fail to learn what their needs are, we are afraid to communicate with them because we don't want to cause them more harm, so we are afraid to admit that we 'just' don't know the answers to their questions," Chábová told news server Romea.cz. Moreover, the system of care for the children who are endangered by their family's circumstances is, according to her, confusing, fragmented, and so slow to change that it does not always lead to children's needs being met.  

"Currently we're planning trips to all of the regions to present the guidebook to local child welfare workers, caseworkers and Labor Office staff to explain how to work with it," Chábová told news server Romea.cz. The publication reviews four central subjects that young adults have to deal with when leaving institutional life and living independently.   

Housing/jobs, relationships, self-esteem and therapy are the topics. The guidebook is designed predominantly for those who come into contact with such adolescents and young adults.
 
"We present specific tips on how to work with them in practice, how to communicate with them and whom to contact in the event of need. The guidebook also includes stand-alone inserts designed for adolescents and young adults containing information about custodial contributions, among other matters," added Andrea Šafařík, a project manager at the foundation.

The guidebook also includes a comic strip called Kateřina, which was created by illustrator Martina Kurková Nožičková based on the actual story of a young girl to show where the "system" could have supported her more and where it absolutely failed. The foundation was established in 2019 to strive for a change in the current situations of the young adults who age out of children's homes in the Czech Republic.  

The foundation's mission is to increase the chances that such young people will get by in "real life" after leaving a children's home. The guidebook will be distributed in print form to ministries or Regional Authorities and is freely available for download at the foundation's website, www.krokdomu.cz.

luk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Děti, Dětské domovy, Knihy, Youth



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