Lastega ja lastele

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Estonia-wide training and round table of children’s shelters held in Pedase

At the beginning of November, employees from eight Estonian children’s shelters gathered in the town of Pedase, in Harju County, in order to improve their professional skills. The continuing training was held in cooperation with the family centre Sina ja Mina (You and Me); cooperation with which has been on-going for a period of four years.


Employees from shelters across Estonia gathered in the conference centre, in order to continue their training, and were taught skills for creating and maintaining good relationships. It is important to support the personal development of shelter employees, to ensure that they possess greater knowledge and skills, which would allow them to offer support to a child in his moment of crisis.

It is extremely important to share experiences and ideas, which is why it is has become a tradition that the first day of training ends with a round table of children’s shelter employees. The discussed subjects included the issue of how to ensure that the stay of a child from a substitute home and shelter in a medical institution would not be another source of trauma for the child. A child without parental care is typically unaccompanied by an adult during his stay in a medical institution – the child feels alone and interprets the situation as another rejection. The fear felt by a child left in a hospital is basic. It is equivalent to leaving the child alone in a forest: he is surrounded by many people hustling and bustling about, but does not understand them.

In a medical institution, the hand-holding of a child without parental care currently depends on the time that is available to the medical staff. Solutions were suggested to a number of questions at the round table meeting, such as how to maintain contact with a child that has been temporarily placed in a medical institution and how the staff of a shelter can contribute to the child’s recovery in a hospital. The discussion covered the involvement of volunteers, support persons and young people in alternative service – which would depend on the child’s age and needs – as well as permitting a sick child’s caregiver to obtain a certificate for care leave, and the use of persons with special training in hospitals. At the conclusion of the roundtable meeting, we decided to refer to the Office of the Chancellor of Justice for advice and the development of solutions.

Triin Lumi

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