In 2014 Ministry of Welfare of the Republic of Latvia introduced measures to initiate the deinstitutionalisation (DI) process. In Latvia, three target groups have been identified in the DI process, for which community-based services are to be provided: children in out-of-family care; children with functional disabilities; adults with mental disabilities. During research state`s DI plans were analyzed to evaluate the number of needed services related to animal therapy for children with functional disabilities. The regional DI plans for 2017-2020, which assess the individual needs of the target groups, have identified the need for a range of specific services in order to make rehabilitation as effective as possible for children with functional disabilities, such as equine-assisted therapy, canine-assisted therapy, arts therapy, aquatic therapy, etc. where part of them have so far been unavailable.
It is concluded that the provision of animal therapy does not always meet the demand, especially considering the uneven provision of social services in remote regions of Latvia. For example, individual needs assessment data for Latgale region show that there is a strong demand for therapeutic services: music therapy (316 out of 392), equine-assisted therapy (302), sand therapy (283), arts therapy (260), canine-assisted therapy (248). The lack of specialists and the ability to offer the service in various regions and the increased costs of the service have a negative impact on the ability of the target groups identified in the DI plan, to receive a full basket of services based on their individual needs. Nevertheless, several cities of national importance have already had positive experience in attracting and providing equine-assisted therapy and canine-assisted therapy services.
- 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)