April 2011 – December 2011

In March 2006, the President of the Azerbaijan Republic endorsed the State Program on Deinstitutionalization and Alternative Care for 2006-2015, with the intention of transforming the current institution-based system of care into a sustainable system of community-based services to support children and families.

Azerbaijan is working to build that new system of care through the Social Services Initiative (SSI) Community for All-Azerbaijan Deinstitutionalization project, funded by the Open Society Mental Health Initiative (OSMHI). This project aimed to develop alternative community-based services to ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to live and participate in the community as equal citizens.

To assist Azerbaijani professionals to provide services, Keystone provided a program of training, education and technical assistance, drawing on more than four decades of experience providing community-based services and Keystone Human Services International Moldova Association’s experience implementing the Community for All-Moldova Program. Keystone specialists conducted on-site workshops in Social Role Valorization and Person Centered Planning, key concepts and processes to ensure individuals with disabilities are supported to have valued social roles, live the “good life” and have a voice in their service plan. In between visits, Keystone provided distance consultation to continue to support Azerbaijani professionals as they build their expertise.

Not only did Azerbaijani professionals increase their capacity to support individuals within the community, but collaboration across borders was strengthened as Keystone Moldova’s Community for All-Moldova team shared their knowledge and experiences supporting individuals to leave the institution and live in the community. In addition to Azerbaijani human service professionals, members of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, representatives of local public administrations and other governmental representatives participated in the workshops, helping to ensure a positive future for individuals with disabilities, their families and community-based services.