The "Child and Space" Association came to being as a result of the work of an interdisciplinary research laboratory established in the framework of the Franco-Bulgarian training project "Growing up without parents". It took place between 1998 and 2004 with the support of "Doctors of the World" (Bordeaux, France), the "Child Development and Family" Foundation (Bulgaria), the professional organisation "Interdisciplinary Center for Child" (Bordeaux) and the French Institute in Sofia. The project involved multidisciplinary teams from all 32 medical care home in Bulgaria and 15 social workers from the Child Protection Department.
The birth of the Association was brought about by the ten-year-long presence of "Doctors of the World" in Bulgaria, the established methods and connections, and the realisation that reform in the system of child and family care is necessary. Thus the Association was founded in the context of a network of professionals with experience in working with children at risk and their families.
The members of the Association are specialists from different professions in the field of care and services for children, they are doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, speech therapists, educators, physical therapists and others with experience in socio-psychological work with children in institutions, children at-risk, children with developmental problems and disadvantaged children. This experience is of various nature including clinical monitoring, therapeutic workshops and other methods individualising and humanising the care. Other members are seasoned experts and trainers in the field of child care. The interdisciplinary network created around the Association enables us to fully meet the needs of the beneficiaries, to offer professional support, flexibility and responsiveness in our dealing with each individual case.
The "Child and Space" Association participates in and implements projects aimed at supporting children, families and professionals working in the social, educational and health sector, and in the judicial system. At the forefront of the project activities of the Association is the experience of the specialists in the recognition and the accompanying of children and parents with mental suffering.
"THE CHILD AND THEIR SYMPTOMS" TRAINING PROGRAM
Since 2005 the "Child and Space" Association together with the Bulgarian Society for Lacanian Psychoanalysis (successor of the Group of the Freudian Field in Bulgaria and an associate member of the New Lacanian School) and in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Center for the Child (CIEN), France, realised "The child and his symptoms" program of continuing education with clinical orientation. In the last six years the medico-pedagogical institute "Le Courtil", Belgium, has also been a partner of the program. “Le Courtil” is a specialised institution for children, adolescents and young people with mental health problems, and is one of the founders of RI3 - the International Network of Institutions for children in the Freudian field.
The program welcomes all professionals from whom questions arise on their meetings with the children and parents that they work with, and to professionals who wish to present cases. These are people with different professions: social workers, psychologists, teachers, speech therapists, psychiatrists, and pediatricians across the country.
The program has enjoyed a significant turnout throughout the years. Representatives of more than 90 different social services and institutions have submitted and presented more than 120 cases. These case studies examine the stories of children and young people who find different ways to manifest their mental suffering, and who are labeled in their files and assessments as "mentally retarded", "delinquent", "asocial", and who are in need of a different approach, a new type of care to their best interest, and in need of support for their inclusion in community life. The program has proved its usefulness and sustainability, and has become especially relevant for professionals involved in the deinstitutionalisation process of children in Bulgaria.