Strengthening families. Ending institutional care.

Hundreds of thousands of children across Europe are growing up in institutional care. The consequences are devastating: for children, families and society. Children need stable and secure relations with caring adults to thrive. Supporting families of origin must be a first priority. But when separation is necessary for their protection, children need individualised care which institutions cannot provide. That’s why we advocate for a broad range of quality alternative care options.

The Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign aims to support national efforts to develop child protection systems that strengthen families and ensure high quality family and community-based alternative care for children, by leveraging EU funding and policy and building capacity of civil society organisations.

The campaign is a partnership between 5 international organisations and civil society organisations across 16 European countries. Eurochild hosts the coordination of this campaign.


Phase I: 2013-2015

Opening Doors for Europe’s Children was launched as a pan-European campaign in June 2013 and ran until 2015 in 12 countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. It was jointly led by Eurochild and Hope and Homes for Children.

Read more about the developments in each country in the progress report: Looking back, Looking forward.


Phase II: 2016-2018

From December 2016, the campaign brings on board new national and international partners to add further gravitas to our work on deinstitutionalisation in Europe. SOS Children’s Villages International, the International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO), and the European branch of the International Federation of Educative Communities (FICE Europe) have joined Eurochild and Hope and Homes for Children.

The campaign also expands geographically, bringing the number of countries from 12 to 16. The campaign will operate in western European countries (Spain, Belgium and Austria) to break the myth that the transition from institutional to family and community-based care only concerns Central and Eastern Europe.

In the context of the current refugee and migrant crisis, the Campaign will also call for quality care alternatives to institutional care for migrant, unaccompanied and separated children.


We believe that the end of all institutional care for all children in Europe is possible and within our reach. Become a change maker and join the movement to strengthen families and end institutional care, putting the best interest of children back at the heart of child protection systems in Europe.