Institutionalization of Children with Disabilities in Croatia: Social Workers' Perspectives

Maja Laklija, Marina Milić Babić, & Leah P. Cheatham - Child & Youth Services


This study aims to advance understanding of social workers’ perceptions of the circumstances necessitating and preventing the placement of children with disabilities (CwDs) in institutions. This retrospective study involved thematic analyses of one focus group (n = 7) and semi-structured individual interviews (n = 12). Participants included social work professionals with experience providing welfare services for CwDs and their families. In effort to prevent separation of CwDs from their families, results suggest a need for continued monitoring of deinstitutionalization of CwDs alongside increased availability, accessibility, and quality of childcare, alternative child welfare and family support services.