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Developing Social Services for Vulnerable Groups - III

In October 2005, the European Commission in conjunction with the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development launched a two-year project "Developing Social Services for Vulnerable Groups III". The project runs in five pilot regions - in the Kaliningrad, Kirov and Tambov regions, in the Republic of Chuvashia and in the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous District.

Its aim is to contribute to the development of an effective and efficient social care and protection system for socially vulnerable groups such as women, children and young people living with HIV/AIDS, including HIV-negative children born to HIV-positive mothers.

The project aims to create a client-friendly system based on a comprehensive social care approach. This means a multidisciplinary approach with a clear view of all beneficiaries' needs and efficient coordination between institutions and professionals. The project establishes appropriate mechanisms, methodologies and models for the provision of comprehensive care and rights protection based on social partnership between regional/municipal government, medical authorities, the social services and NGOs.

In order to define and install comprehensive care networks, the project has analysed and assessed the existing system of social services for the target groups, including benefits, housing and socio-psychological assistance. The project respects local peculiarities and takes into consideration the stage the regions have reached in their response to the local specifics of the epidemic.

Recommendations on improving policy and support measures for the provision of social services for the identified vulnerable groups are being devised. The relevant regulations concerning the new social care system are being finalised, and proposals for the necessary modification of the relevant laws have been developed, especially in the area of client confidentiality protection.

A number of educational programs are being run to raise and hone the skills and professional competence of social care administrators at different levels, health and social care professionals and local authorities, as well as for lawyers and experts specializing in rights protection.

The project has launched numerous activities to raise public awareness, including conferences, TV and radio interviews, statements and interviews in local print media of the regions, press roundtables and press conferences. Work with the mass media and target audiences is focused on overcoming stigmatisation and developing tolerance, which will allow people living with HIV/AIDS and their families to integrate better into society.

(European Commission's Delegation to Moscow)

The project site (in Russian only): www.helpsystem.ru