The 33rd FICE Congress and 2nd CYC World Conference “Together towards a better world for children, adolescents and families” took place from 22nd to 25th August in the University of Applied Sciences FH Campus Wien, Vienna, Austria. The event was co-hosted by FICE International, CYC-Net, Municipal Department for Youth and Family, Vienna(MAG 11), University of Applied Sciences FH Campus, Wien, Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland(CELCIS), Institute for Children and Youth Services(IKJ) and supported by many national and international partners. The Congress took place under the patronage of Sonja Wehsely, City Councillor for Health and Social Affairs, City of Vienna.
The Congress was attended by more than 600 professionals, working in the field of child and youth care from more than 60 countries around the globe and from all continents. The 33rd FICE Congress brought together university professors and students, practitioners in the child and youth care systems, international advocates for children’s rights, medical practitioners and other stakeholders – people from various professions concerned about the future of vulnerable children. Although they were all from different professional backgrounds and with different experience, the main focus of the discourse was one: “How to make the world a better place for children and young people?”. What is more, the most important experts, present at the Congress were the youth themselves. More than 60 young adults from 15 countries, all care leavers participated in a youth exchange, that was happening in parallel with the Congress. The youth exchange “Be the change” started on 17th August, thus the participants had the possibility to prepare for their appearance in the Congress. The young adults organized and carried out their own workshop, which gave them the chance through the use of different types of media, to deliver their very strong message to the professionals, taking part at the Congress. Moreover, the young adults developed 10 Standards for leaving care, which were voted and adopted unanimously by the participants in the Congress.
The Congress opening was moderated by the newly elected president of FICE International, Hermann Radler and the secretary general of the organization, Bettina Terp. Among the opening speakers were Gabriele Mörk, a Representative of the City Council for Health and Social Affairs, Jennipfer Kere, County Minister for Education, Youth, Culture, Gender and Sports, County Government of Kisumu, Kenya; Dashenka Kraleva, President of FICE International for the period 2010-2016; Jennifer Davidson, Director of the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland(CELCIS); Heather Modlin, Member of the Board of Governors of the International Child and Youth Care Network(CYC-Net); Josef Hiebl, Municipal Department for Youth and Family(MAG 11), City of Vienna, Barbara Bittner, Rector of the University of Applied Sciences FH Campus Wien, Vienna; Michael Macsenaere, Director of the Institute for Children and Youth Services(IKJ), Germany, Silke Gahleitner, Head of the Congress Scientific Committee, Emmanuel Grupper, member of the Congess Scientific Committee and Herbert Siegrist, Member of the Board of Governors of the Umbrella Association of Austrian Child and Youth Care Facilities, Austria. Among them was the “Ambassador” of the young adults BUSISIWE MAKHONXA (South Africa)
A special part of the opening ceremony was the performance of the rap song “The Hard Way” by the young and talented rap singer Florin Hajdu(MC Yello) from Romania. The song delivered a very strong message to all participants, especially to the young adults – to follow their dreams and never give up even if life is full of hardships.
A glorious part of the Congress opening was the Award Ceremony. For the first time in the history of FICE International an award was given to honor great achievements in the field of child and youth care. The first winner of the award was the Careleaver Association – a German organization of careleavers that is focused on finding opportunities for young adults leaving care.
Each of the Congress days was filled with exciting and fruitful discussions, presentations of good practices and innovative methods in the field of child and youth care. More than 200 presenters from many countries around the world delivered their knowledge and experience either through keynote lectures or as part of the parallel thematic sessions and workshops. Every morning and afternoon participants had the opportunity to choose between 15 different parallel thematic panels and workshops. A total of 20 keynote lectures on various topics were held by distinguished scientists and professionals.
Another event, bringing color to the Congress was the poster exhibition – researchers from different countries were able to present the results of their work using graphic media to draw the attention of the audience to important issues concerning the health and well-being of children and young people.
In this rich and diverse program there was something for everyone – from more theoretically focused presentations to more practical ones, as well as presentations of research results, presentations of projects, good practices and innovations in field.
At the end of the 33rd FICE Congress and 2nd CYC World Conference, FICE International adopted a declaration regarding the professional care for unaccompanied refugee minors. The declaration will soon be available for download on this website.
A selection of the best photos from the Congress can be found here
A video with some of the participants, describing the Congress can be found here
A video from the workshop “Careleavers – young persons in transition” can be found here
A video with the rap song “The Hard Way” can be found here
“FICE Standards Developed by Young Care Leavers” can be found here