Parent and family leadership in preventing institutionalization of children with disabilities: Promising practices from countries in transition- COSP13 Side Event

Keystone Human Services, Inclusion International, SPOON, International Social Service - Burkina Faso, Shonaquip - South Africa, Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs - Vietnam, Auto-reprezentanți - Moldova, International Disability Alliance

People with disabilities have the right to live in the community, according to Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, more than a decade after the adoption of the CRPD by the UN and nearly global ratification, children with disabilities continue to be placed in institutions in every region of the world. Worse still, low-middle income countries that have never had systems of institutionalization have started to build them.

In 2017, the CRPD Committee adopted general comment No. 5 on Article 19 on living independently and being included in the community, which clearly stated the obligation of States Parties to adopt a plan for deinstitutionalization, including the closure of current institutions and not to build new ones. Yet, without quality community services and support for parents, institutions are seen to provide better care than children with disabilities would receive at home.

By drawing on the experiences of parents, advocates, NGOs, and public officials, this side event invited discussion on how, through strengthening families and tools for prevention, societies can reduce the number of children being institutionalized.

A panel of experts from the Republic of Moldova, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Vietnam, and the United States explored these questions and experiences around efforts to empower parents and keep children with disabilities with their families. Panelists presented examples of challenges and successes in building inclusive societies which parents are empowered and children with disabilities can reach their potential.

Watch the recording of the event here.