Transition to community-based care: the role of the EU
Hundreds of thousands of children, persons with disabilities, persons with mental health problems, homeless persons and older people across Europe continue to live in long-stay institutions where they face lives of social exclusion, poverty and labour market exclusion. In order to promote social inclusion of people with support needs in line with the targets set by the Europe 2020 strategy, countries must move away from the institutional model of care towards a system of person-centred community-based care and support. The transition process is complex to manage and politically sensitive. In the past EU funds have been invested in bad practices to refurbish or build residential institutions, thus reinforcing social exclusion. External expert guidance and support is therefore urgently needed in many EU Member States and candidate countries to promote good social investment in quality and sustainable community-based services.
The Social Investment Package and the new the ESIF 2014-20 give renewed impetus to Member States to develop more effective and efficient social protection systems. Investment in the transition to personalised community-based services is an investment in human potential and social inclusion. The European Semester, the social OMC and the ESIF processes provide opportunities for structured policy monitoring on this issue.