Until 1991, the budget institution Vilniaus Žolyno vaikų socialinės globos namai (Vilnius 1st Children’s Foster Home) was a foster home for pre-school children. About 100 children lived there.
As our country began the steps towards independence, we started to reorganise. We gradually reduced the number of children and staff. We did not send the children to boarding schools, but allowed them to live here, where they had been brought up from an early age, and made it possible for them to attend mainstream schools in the city.
As part of the de-institutionalisation of the institutions, at the end of August 2014, we moved two foster families into apartments. The family-like environment and the conditions created for children to better integrate into society promote children’s independence and reduce their social exclusion. In 2016, after the third family moved into a newly renovated house, the restructuring of the Home was completed and the Home started to operate on a family basis, providing community-based services as an alternative to institutional care.
Following the decision of the Vilnius City Municipal Council to reorganise the Vilnius Minties Children’s Social Care Home, all rights and obligations of the closed institution were transferred to the Vilnius Žolynas Children’s Social Care Home upon completion of the reorganisation on 31 May 2017. Currently, our children’s social care home manages 6 households with 40 children without parental care, from socially disadvantaged families where the necessary living and educational conditions are not guaranteed and orphans.
The orphans live in families with a family-like environment. As in any family, children get up, go to school and attend classes. With the help of the family workers, they buy groceries, cook, clean their rooms, wash their clothes – just like a normal family. Social workers and their assistants are responsible for organising the household, meals, education and leisure activities. They work hard to create the conditions for the children in their care so that they feel as little as possible the loss of their families and grow up as full citizens of their country.
Great attention is paid to children’s employment and leisure time during holidays. In their free time, children attend swimming, rugby, football, figure skating, ceramics and street dance clubs, spend the summer in children’s recreation camps, and actively participate in community events.