Award – December 9 2019 ‘Prepare for Leaving Care’ training recognised SOS Children’s Villages International’s ‘Prepare for Leaving Care’ training won the European Social Services Award 2019 in the category innovation in a ceremony held in Brussels on 6 December. The training, developed as part of the Prepare for Leaving Care project, co-financed by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union, aims to build the capacity of care professionals in how to apply a child rights-based approach in their work with young people leaving care, as well as to strengthen support networks for young care leavers. “This training is innovative because young people with care experience have been involved in the development as well as co-delivering the training," said Florence Treyvaud Nemtzov, International Project Manager at SOS Children’s Villages International. "This participatory approach gives care professionals the opportunity to hear first-hand how young people are experiencing the leaving care process and to reflect together on how to improve these experiences for future generations of care leavers.” The direct involvement of young people also has a positive impact on young people with experience in alternative care who act as co-trainers. “Being a co-trainer has given me the opportunity to meet great professionals in the sector, committed to their work and eager to help us,” said Eva Hidalgo Avala, a 21-year old young expert from SOS Children’s Villages Spain who took part in the award ceremony in Brussels. “What I liked the most was getting to know young people from other countries who had an experience similar to mine and who wanted to raise their voices to show that, in the process of emancipation, we are important and we must be taken into account,” she added. The Prepare for Leaving Care Practice Guidance and Training Manual, developed in partnership with CELCIS, has reached to date over 1,000 care professionals in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy, Romania, and Spain. The European Social Network (ESN) organises the European Social Services Award to recognise excellence in delivering social services across Europe and to shine a spotlight on successful approaches. Learn more: For more information on the project and to view training tools produced in the context of the project, click here. Information on the European Social Services Awards is available here.