The Chairperson of the State Agency for Child Protection Dr. Eleonora Lilova opened an International Conference for the Development of the Professionalism of People Working with Children. The forum is held online on February 25 and 26, 2021, under the motto "Bulgaria grows with its children" organized by the Foundation "For Our Children" and with the participation of Bulgarian and international experts. In a series of panel discussions and sessions, they will present their position on key topics and discuss the importance of continuous professional development for professionals working with children at an early age.


"As Chairperson of the State Agency for Child Protection and as a professional pedagogue and sociologist, I congratulate the organizers for bringing together a wide range of stakeholders working with children from municipal structures, educational institutions, health, professional organizations, trade unions and employers’ organizations. It is extremely important for such a diverse group of professionals to be acquainted with the data from the research of scientific circles, good practices and policies at European and national level on the topic of professionals’ level in the field of early childhood development. This is the right way to unite everyone around the understanding of the exceptional role of professionals involved with young children from an early age." - With these words, Dr. Eleonora Lilova addressed all participants.


She brought to the fore the initiative of the SACP, through which for the first time in Bulgaria last year began the introduction of the recognized program of the World Health Organization for training parents of children with disabilities and other caregivers of children with disabilities at an early age. The program is implemented under the leadership of the agency, in partnership with UNICEF Bulgaria, Autism Today Association and other interested professional organizations in our country. The project methodically supports the experts with guidelines for early intervention of children with disabilities through special work and support of their parents. This training program for parents and caregivers has been developed, tested and implemented in more than 30 countries worldwide and through it the SACP contributes to professionals working with young children.


The first day of the conference began with a presentation on the workforce in the field of early childhood development in Bulgaria by Dr. Natalia Mihaylova, who leads the research team of the Foundation, and the other topics were with international participation: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Velina Todorova (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child), Dr. Jane Muita (UNICEF Bulgaria), Prof. Johanna Einarsdottir (University of Iceland), Dr. Jan Peters (University of Ghent, Belgium), Prof. Paul Lisman (University of Utrecht, The Netherlands) and others.


On the second day of the Conference, the policies for development, employment and retention of professionals in the European Union will be discussed and experts from the European Commission will be involved in the discussion. Representatives of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Health, municipal representatives, trade unions, professional and employers' organizations and others.


"I believe that investments in the development of competent and motivated professionals in health, education and social sphere can lead to modernization of the systems, which will undoubtedly contribute to the development not only of children at an early age, but also to support their families. and society as a whole. The most important investment of any human capital development policy is the investment in early childhood development, so as Chairperson of the State Agency for Child Protection and in my personal capacity as a specialist, I will continue to support organizations and all missionaries working for development. in this area. Let Bulgaria grow with its children and let us be together with them!”, Dr. Lilova emphasized.