Reaching out to those who are not able to come to us
Through the support of Irish Aid, First Step Georgia launched the Home Based Care in 2007. The program has been very well received and serves between 50-55 children a year.
Neither children nor young people with severe or profound disabilities receive free psychosocial assistance at home in Georgia. Children and young people with disabilities have potential skills and capacities that need assessment and further development. Most cannot leave their homes due to physical and social constraints, severe health conditions or behavioral disorders. They rarely have access to proper healthcare or social benefits, much less formal or even informal education. The interaction with their peers and other members of society and participation in sports or cultural activities are rare, and as a result they are not included in social life. Children with severe and profound disabilities who spend years at home often lack the basic life skills of caring for themselves. Families with a child with severe or profound disabilities also become more socially vulnerable since the child needs constant and sometimes intensive care, the involvement of specialists and special equipment — yet in Georgia no free support services are offered. This is why the home-based care program is crucial for many families.
First Step Georgia has been implementing the Home Care Program for the past five years in order to improve the quality of life of these families and help develop the skills necessary to ensure the child's future potential for independent living and social integration. The program offers services to approximately 60 beneficiaries every year, and over the past five years, 13 parents of children with disabilities have been able to become employed outside the home.
The Home Care Program serves children with severe or profound physical and intellectual disabilities, who—for the most part-- cannot access other services because they are bedridden or have limited mobility and sometimes behavioral disorders and severe health conditions.
In 2013, a survey conducted among the parents of beneficiaries of the program revealed that the existence of this service was very important for them because their child became more confident, there were improvements in health, functional and academic skills, and the child had become calmer and learned better social behavior. They affirmed that more social integration had taken place which meant that the psycho-social state of the family improved overall. Home-based care is one of the most important support services for reducing the risk of institutionalization of children with severe disabilities, helping families to manage their child's development and integration.