Whilst the Romanian Government are striving to make changes; laws, policies and attitudes have yet to catch up with international views and good practice on service delivery for people with disability. In general staff working in government and local authority facilities for people with disability use a ‘medical model’ of service delivery where the young person needs to be ‘cared for’ and is not allowed to participate in activities one would expect a young person to get involved in if they lived with their family: food preparation, cleaning, shopping etc. Young disabled people living in Government run facilities are not given the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to live, work and lead ordinary independent lives in the community.
Young people who express themselves in a way that is considered ‘challenging’ by staff unskilled and inexperienced in understanding the link between behaviour and communication and how to create communication strategies, are often medicated and if they have moved to community housing, returned to institutions.
Using a Social Model of disability, FVB developed a ‘competency’ training package for frontline local authority staff working with people with disabilities in residential accommodation and institutions. In workshops using participants own experiences, FVB trainers help participants understand a person centred approach and how to manage challenging behaviour using individually tailored communication strategies. To ensure implementation of skills learnt in the workshop, FVB trainers ‘shadow’ course participants in their workplace, providing on-the-job coaching and support ensuring competence is achieved.
The training programme was successfully implemented in 2009 for Constanta County Council residential unit in Techirghiol and replicated in 2010 for Galati County Council staff working in Casa Cătălina.