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Lithuania: Community Social Services To Expand

  • Robert Lyle



Washington, 20 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - The World Bank says a new program being launched by Lithuania to strengthen community social services for the handicapped, the elderly and battered women, will greatly expand existing service centers and open new ones in six municipalities around the country.

Over the next five years, the Lithuanian Ministry of Social Security and Labor, in coordination with the cities, will implement the program to provide social services to more than 1,600 people a year and prevent the institutionalization of more than 1,100 people.

Here is what will be done in each municipality:

Vilnius. The program will support a training center for handicapped young adults, a day care center for the elderly and handicapped, a shelter for battered mothers and their children and a rehabilitation center for alcoholics and drug abusers.

Svencionys. The program will create a social services center, a social rehabilitation center for the handicapped, a home delivery of services for the elderly, an assistance program for former prisoners, and a temporary residence for children experiencing family crises.

Siauliai. The program will develop a coordinating center for social services and a day employment center for the handicapped.

Anyksciai. The program will expand an existing educational center for disabled children from 15 to 40 handicapped children, and introduce a job training and job placement program to help develop skills that will enable them to live financially and socially independent lives.

Moletai. The program will start a center to educate 24 mentally handicapped children and provide them with training in basic job skills to gain self-confidence and live independently.

Utena. The program will establish a center in coordination with the Utena Medical College for the education of 22 disabled children who do not attend school and have little social contact outside their immediate families.

These community social service pilot projects, costing over $7 million, were worked out with local and national officials in a program developed by Sweden's Stockholm University School of Social Work.

On the national level, the program is designed to help Lithuania establish a fiscally sound social safety net that targets the country's scarce resources toward the most vulnerable individuals of society, according to the World Bank.

The project will, in addition, increase the efficiency of the Ministry of Social Security and strengthen its capacity to assess social policies in light of their social and fiscal impacts and improve the effectiveness of government programs for the poor and vulnerable, the bank says. This social policy development part of the project will cost $2.6 million.

The World Bank loan provides about 30 percent of the cost of the entire $12.3 million program, with another third coming from the municipalities and the rest coming in loans from Sweden and the Netherlands, and money from the national government.
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