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People with Intellectual and Mental Disabilities in Social Care System in Serbia between Path Dependency and the Pursuit of Deinstitutionalization


Despite reform efforts toward deinstitutionalization of social protection system in Serbia, encouraging the development of alternative community-based services in the community as well as the pressure from the international community in the European Union integration process, the care system for persons with intellectual and mental disabilities is still characterized by high rates of institutionalization and present waiting lists for accommodation in social protection institutions. The article will attempt to answer the question why the existing system of social protection, despite the formal commitment of the government, is not based on the basic principles of deinstitutionalization, which are the foundation for accomplishing the rights of people with intellectual and mental disabilities in accordance with international standards and policies in this area. Bearing in mind the complexity of the social protection system, the subject of this paper will be the analysis of the factors which inhibit or prevent the process of deinstitutionalization. The authors will argue that the reasons are twofold – structural and cultural, while for the identification and explanation of the major obstacles that hinder the deinstitutionalization process will be used institutional arguments. Continued reliance on institutional care of this social group shows “path dependency” in which the responses of the system are rooted in the socialist past. Understanding this historical impact is crucial for the further reform of the social protection system.

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PERIODIKA Serbian Political Thought 2/2015 UDC 364.4-056.36(497.11) 81-92