One of the projects funded by Centre for Training and Consultancy in the framework of the grant competition “Innovative Social Ideas in Response to Covid-19” has already been completed. The competition was aimed at supporting innovative ideas of non-governmental organizations that will improve and / or expand access to social services and integration opportunities for groups affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Project: “Improving the quality of independence of families with severe and profound mental and physical disabilities and remote work of programs in times of crisis”

The goal of the project implemented by First Step Georgia was to ensure the continuity and efficiency of First Step Georgia’s services during the crisis caused by the Covid Pandemic. To this end, the specific objective of the project was to study the needs of the families of beneficiaries of the Children’s Day Center and home care programs of the organization “First Step Georgia” for children with severe and profound mental and physical disabilities for access to remote services and to provide them with technical and material resources and skills.

As a result of the project, 60 beneficiaries were provided with a personal tablet and provided with uninterrupted access to the Internet in order to increase access to and involvement in remote services. In addition to the beneficiaries, the specialists of the day center and home care program were also technically equipped. The technical support enabled the organization to introduce a hybrid method of service to keep beneficiaries involved and in communication with them.

In addition, the program team assessed post-pandemic needs for the beneficiaries, developed an individual service plan, provided booklets on physical assistance to a child with disabilities, prepared a video on safe transfers using household items, and a training video on COVID management. Also, the multidisciplinary team conducted trainings on physical assistance and computer programs (Google Meet) for the children’s family members.

It is noteworthy that the involvement of parents and beneficiaries has increased significantly since the start of the project. Before the project, the engagement rate was 65%, and after the engagement increased to 96.7%. Parental initiative and participation in other programs have also increased. Several parents have independently expressed interest and participated in the online training of “First Step Georgia” autism and early intervention program specialists.

It is important that various non-governmental and service providers contacted “First Step Georgia” for consultations, after which they shared the experience of “First Step Georgia” and introduced the developed model in their organizations.

The project has been implemented under the sponsorship of the Center for Training and Counsultancy with support from Bread for the World within the framework of the Health, Care and Social Rights Program.