The early intervention center “Lăstărel” was opened in Criuleni in February 2020. The first of its kind in the eastern region of the Republic of Moldova, the center has been providing free of charge comprehensive services for early child development assessment.
Bringing together 6 specialists – a paediatrician, a neurologist, a psychologist, a psychology teacher, a social worker and a physiotherapist – “Lăstărel” is ready to assist children with development challenges to reach their physical, cognitive as well as social potential.
Since most of the local health facilities were short of certain experts, the parents had to travel to Chisinau in order to provide for costly treatment needed by their children. For the community these were prohibitive costs, so the financial support from the European Union in opening “Lăstărel” has come just in time.
However only two weeks after opening its doors to the families in need, “Lăstărel” had to close due to the COVID-19 state of emergency and provide the The center coordinator is playing with Maria during her first visit assistance remotely. It was a challenging time, further exacerbated by the needs experienced by the parents and children, becoming even more stressful because of the pandemic.
The project “COVID 19: Civil Society Resilience and Sustainability” funded by the European Union and implemented by the ERIM (formerly IREX Europe), has decided to support the center during this challenging time. “Lăstărel” same as the other 19 associations benefitted from a grant and was able to continue activities in supporting children with development challenges and their families in Criuleni and Dubasari rayons.
“Lăstărel” has already successfully cooperated with family doctors from all localities served by the Criuleni and Dubasari health authorities to identify children who could potentially benefit from the services offered by the center. The center has been working with 50 children and estimates that over 120 families from Criuleni and Dubasari rayons will be able to benefit from the assistance and counselling of “Lăstărel” specialists.
A rather functional early intervention service is expected to help children with development challenges to increase their educational gains and reduce their dependence on social institutions in the future, while boosting parental competence and resilience of families in the face of any crisis. If “Lăstărel” is accredited next year, it will become a model of good practice and a resource center for other districts/rayons in the country.