Deinstitutionalization in Croatia: A Summary of Open Society Support

– Judith E. Klein – Open Society Foundation

This paper examines the benefits and challenges of de-institutionalizing disability residential services in Croatia through Open Society Foundation’s Mental Health Initiative (MHI). The MHI established a partnership with The Association for Promoting Inclusion (API) and advocated for the replacement of long-stay institutions with community-based alternatives.  This document describes how API used Croatian law to develop a program that provided services to the community. Once services began, API advocated for the de-institutionalization of children with intellectual disabilities and established a foster service program for these children.  The paper also elaborates on how API provides advocacy training and the steps API took to grow its services to scale. Through their efforts MHI and API were able to facilitate the release of 100 persons from long-stay institutions.