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ENTER Conference 2023 and AGM 2023: Advance Notice

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

ENTER Conference 2023 and AGM 2023: Advance Notice

Conference: 1st June 2023
AGM: 2nd June 2023

Dear colleagues,

The ENTER Conference 2023 will be held in collaboration with the Fakulteta za socialno delo Univerze v Ljubljani (Faculty of Social Work, University of Ljubljana), Inštitut RS za socialno varstvo (Social Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia), Dom na Krasu (Home in the Kras), Sonček – Zveza društev za cerebralno paralizo Slovenije (Sonček - the Cerebral Palsy Association of Slovenia) and Društvo SVIZCI - Uporabniško društvo za duševno zdravje (Association SVIZCI – User association for mental health)

Conference theme

“Deinstitutionalisation..., that word!” Achievements and contradictions of community care from a European perspective.

By the end of the 20th century, the deinstitutionalisation became a universal policy of international agencies such as the World Health Organisation, and the right to live in the community, along with others, is an important part of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As for now, the reforms in mental health care have taken place in most Western European countries. In recent years, a more pronounced European platform and policy have been the driver to finally start the process of transition to the community in many Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries or has started anew in some of them, as it is true for Slovenia.

There are many reasons to celebrate, as the ‘care map’ has immensely changed over the years, and may now include group homes, day centres, employment support schemes, advocacy, user organisations, peer-support, relatives’ groups, personal assistance, coordinated care, outreach crisis services, mobile teams, and many forms that have emerged and continue to grow in the empty space of needs for different types of support in the community. On the other hand, living in a community poses challenges that may also perpetuate isolation and segregation.

The conference will first and foremost be a festival of accomplishments, an exchange of best practices, research findings and training experiences, but also a space for critical reflection and transformative ideas on how to overcome contradictions, such as the declarative political support for the deinstitutionalisation processes while increasing the capacity of locked secure wards in adult and even children's social care homes, resistance in neighbours, institutional mentality and practices surviving in the community, and themes that arise at the crossroads of multiple exclusion (youth, old people, parenting, alcohol and drug use, dual diagnoses, homelessness, and others). Particular attention will be paid to the alternative ways of managing risks without coercion and closure, and especially highlight the various European user-led initiatives (especially peer support, peer advocacy) that have always been and still are inevitably linked to deinstitutionalisation.

The conference will also be an opportunity to mark the 40th anniversary of “Sonček - the Cerebral Palsy Association of Slovenia”, an NGO for people with disabilities with a long-time experience in providing support in group homes and recently also with adapted apartments, and a way to celebrate the successfully completed EU-funded pilot deinstitutionalisation project in social care home “Dom na Krasu”.

Deinstitutionalisation is a word that is difficult for most people to pronounce. They often stop somewhere in the middle and say, well…, that word. Sometimes this saying also means that they find deinstitutionalisation too difficult to deal with.

You are invited to join the conference to contribute to a new understanding of “that word” in European perspective. Join the participative, interactive and lively presentations, discussions, workshops, and roundtables, and just getting together!

Conference venue for the conference will be the Congress Centre, Hotel Maestoso, Lipica, in the Karst region in south-western Slovenia, (Lipica 15c, 6210 Sežana). Travel to and from the conference venue from Ljubljana will be provided for ENTER members.

The event will be held in English (the translation from Slovene into English and vice versa will be provided most of the time).

A call for abstracts will be issued soon …


The Annual General Meeting of ENTER Mental Health network will be held on 2nd June 2023 in Ljubljana, at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Ljubljana, (Topniška ulica 31, 1000 Ljubljana).

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