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Warsaw. They will liquidate family counseling centers in three districts: Bielany, Bemowo and Wawer.

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By the decision of the Warsaw councilors, by the end of June specialized family counseling centers operating in Bielany, Bemowo and Wawer will be liquidated and incorporated into the Family Support Center “Rodzinna Warszawa”. As the originators of centralization argue, operating within a single structure will facilitate access to assistance and allow for easier control of the quality of services provided. Criticism comes from the neighborhoods.

On Thursday, the Warsaw Council adopted resolutions on the liquidation of three specialist clinics that offer psychological help in the districts of Bemowo (ul. Pełczyńskiego 28E), Bielany (al. Zjednoczenia 11) and Wawer (ul. Włókiennicza 54). Pursuant to the resolutions, the assets of the facilities will be taken over by the Family Support Center “Rodzinna Warszawa”. All three units will be decommissioned on June 30.

How do they explain centralization?

In the justification of the resolutions, one can read that “the counseling centers perform poviat and city-wide tasks”. “They have the same statutory tasks. All three clinics provide services to residents regardless of their place of residence in Warsaw. Despite this, they do not have the status of supra-district units” – indicate the initiators of the resolutions. According to them, the change is “organizational”, and specialist clinics should operate within a single structure.

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“This will testify to the rationality and economy in spending public funds and will enable the allocation of more funds for the implementation of these tasks” – provide the justification of the originators of centralization. They also emphasize that operating within one structure will make it easier to control the quality of services provided, as well as extend access to more families who need help.

The authors of the draft resolutions remind that the primary task of the Family Support Center (CWR) is to run a day support facility – currently in the form of 10 child care centers and two youth clubs – for children from families experiencing difficulties. “Intensified interventions carried out within one unit can effectively improve the functioning of families with care and educational problems and prevent children from being placed in family foster care. Residents of Warsaw who experience mental health crises will continue to benefit from psychotherapy and other forms of specialist assistance provided so far by counseling,” the statement said.

Pursuant to the resolution, on the date of liquidation, persons working in all three clinics will automatically become employees of the Family Support Center “Rodzinna Warszawa”.

Bielany: incomprehensible decision, huge mistake

The centralization approved by the city councilors does not please the mayor of Bielany, Grzegorz Pietruczuk. As he explained in an entry published on Facebook, the family clinic at 11 Aleja Zjednoczenia has been operating for 23 years.

“The main task of CWR is to run family support and foster care facilities, while our clinic has an incomparably wider range of psychological, pedagogical and legal activities as well as family therapy. Including our clinic in the CWR structure is a huge mistake and will prevent the continuity of the current tasks” – says Pietruczuk. “Unfortunately, the idea of ​​the town hall reduces the activity of our clinic to the implementation of tasks resulting from the act on supporting families and foster care, meanwhile the clinic operates on the basis of the act on social assistance” – emphasizes the mayor of Bielany.

In his opinion, the problem with access to specialist help lies in the insufficient number of such facilities, such as the clinic in Bielany. “Instead of liquidating it and including it in the structures of another unit, the city should support districts in creating more places where similar help will be provided. Unfortunately, the direction taken by the city hall will not only not solve this problem, but in my opinion will even intensify it, because most of the existing customers the clinic will lose the possibility of getting help in this way” – said Pietruczuk.

He noted that in recent years, Bielany has managed to develop an integrated social support network that brings together, among others, Social Welfare Centre, Specialist Family Clinic, Psychological and Pedagogical Clinic, educational institutions, Community Mental Health Center for Children and Youth (EZRA), Community Mental Health Center for adults.

“Today, an incomprehensible decision ‘snatches’ from us one of the very important elements of a well-functioning system. Our residents are being taken away from the clinic where they have been receiving help for 23 years” – summed up Grzegorz Pietruczuk.

Wawer: the decision is controversial among councillors

The decision of the Warsaw authorities did not appeal to Wawer either. – The merger of the Specialist Family Clinic with the Family Support Center is controversial among the district councillors. They would prefer the Specialized Family Clinic to become one unit with branches in the districts – commented the spokeswoman for the district, Aleksandra Słowińska, in response to our questions. – Councilors, understanding that this is a task that goes beyond the districts (almost half of the patients are from outside the Wawer district), believe that it should be in the form of a specialist municipal unit. The inclusion of the SPR in the Family Support Center is a source of concern, she added.

Main photo source: Artur Węgrzynowicz, tvnwarszawa.pl

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