375 children from vulnerable families received financial and emotional support from A1 and NFCA in 2020
• The "Parents +" initiative helps preventing the separation between children and their biological families
• The total contribution of “A1” to the cause of foster care exceeds half a million BGN in the last 10 years
• „A1” will invest nearly BGN 100,000 by the end of 2021 in the development of "Parents +" initiative
375 children raised by 253 parents in families at risk were supported by the National Foster Care Association and „A1” in 2020 through the "Parents +" initiative. The emergency situation connected with the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to the deterioration of the situation of many families and increased the risks of separation from their children, which has significantly increased the need for the „A1”-funded programme. The funds for "Parents +" were raised through a campaign, during which „A1” donated BGN 1 to NFCA for each download of the first „A1” SmartAD application of such kind.
With the funds raised in 2020, NFCA launched a programme in which foster parents trained as social workers provide emotional support and financial assistance to parents whose children grow up in poverty. The "Parents +" programme covers 14 regional cities in Bulgaria.
"I believe that parents should be encouraged to be responsible and caring for their children, and this is our main goal with the development of the "Parents +" programme. I am glad that we can count on our long-term partners from „A1” to continue to help more children having a safe and peaceful childhood.", said Miroslav Dolapchiev, President of the National Foster Care Association.
"The past 2020 was extremely unusual and caused turbulence in all aspects of life. We are glad that with "Parents +" we managed to alleviate the situation of hundreds of families at risk and to help them raise their children better despite the difficulties. By the end of the year, we will invest nearly BGN 100,000 to reduce the risk of separation between families and their children, because we strongly believe in the causes that support the developing family environment" said Iliana Zaharieva, Director of Corporate Communications at „A1” Bulgaria.
Within 2020, in 73% of the families supported by the initiative, at least one representative lost their job and income, and the average monthly income of the assisted households was BGN 398. In nearly 73% of cases, families in need rely on only one parent, and nearly two-thirds ( 63%) of the families helped by the programme last year have large families - with three or more children. The conclusions of the social workers conducting "Parents +" are that the main problems for biological families at risk are the lack of social skills and skills for child care, inability to recognize the problems and difficulties for children. In addition to restrictions and social exclusion, nearly 40% of vulnerable families are at risk of violence.
208 of the children supported by NFCA and „A1” are aged 0 to 4 years. The rest are of school age or of age for attending kindergarten. The support which has been provided is most often in kind, with 178 families supported with money for food. "Parents +" also helped a number of families with funds for clothes and shoes, and for 24 of the children the latter was for special shoes for rehabilitation. Diapers and baby accessories were purchased for 77 children - newborns and young children. 39 of them bought second-hand cots and beds. Under the "Parents +" programme, 81 of the vulnerable families were also supported by paying electricity bills, and 39 parents were provided with funds for the issuance of personal and other documents, including children’s medical examinations for assistance from the Municipalities.