After having coordinated the launch of the 116 000 hotlines in the first 10 Member States in 2009, Missing Children Europe and its members focused on the need to harmonise the standards of the hotline service across Europe. Thanks to the funding of the European Commission (Daphne Programme), a project had been conducted from November 2009 to October 2011, the aim of which was to:
1. Harmonise the service delivery throughout the European Union, in order that parents and children may rely on the same quality and on the same help, no matter the country in which they call the hotline.
2. Enhance the cooperation among the NGOs running the 116 000 hotline, in order that cases with a cross-border nature may be dealt with in a more efficient and effective manner.
The work undertaken during the project led to the creation of a “Practical guide for hotline operators”: a working tool for the 116 000 hotline’s staff, setting out the basic quality standards for the 116 000 service, as well as harmonised procedures for cooperation in transnational cases. The “Practical guide” has been translated into 14 national languages and has been gradually implemented by all hotlines.
Despite the good results achieved in the last years, Missing Children Europe realised that the quality of services, operational management and strategies of the hotlines do not all meet the standards expected by parents and children. There is an important need to help hotlines improve their work, for a real difference to be made for children who go missing in Europe.
This is the reason why Missing Children Europe will coordinate the development of an objective and self-sustainable evaluation system, to monitor the quality of the services provided by each hotline and to evaluate it against the criteria set out in the Practical Guide. The creation of this accreditation system and the evaluation of the services is founded by the European Commission under the Daphne Programme. Below are the main milestones of the project.
The overall objective of the project is to improve the quality of the 116 000 service across Europe and find effective ways to prevent and stop situations of violence linked to children who go missing.
These will be the main outputs of the project:
1. Evaluation mechanism based on identified standards and respective indicators → accreditation system;
2. First evaluation of all hotlines against the newly developed mechanism → formulation of specific recommendations per hotline as to improve the quality of the service offered (especially through study visits and exchange of good practices among hotlines).