Research report: “Strengths and Difficulties of Children at Nest Centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina”

The key objective of this research is to assess socio-emotional aspects of children who are living in families with multiple problems (multi-problem families) and who have been involved in the activities of Daycare “Nest” Centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina over the past 18 months. The purpose of daycare centers for children at risk is to contribute to a better quality of life of the children who are coming from multi-problem families, to provide them with new possibilities of development through high-quality, professional and focused support directed at children and their parents, in cooperation with all relevant local community stakeholders.

Immediately after the second generation of daycare Nest Centers in BiH was opened (in 2013), we launched a research on the psychological characteristics of the children involved in the centers and their peers from typical families, according to the previously defined criteria. In order to review the effects of this approach we repeated the survey 18 months later.

Even though there still are differences between children at risk and children from typical families, the survey indicates there is a greater tendency of the reduction of contrasts of these two groups. Furthermore, the children at risk show a significant improvement in all measured aspects of functioning. They report less emotionally problems, problems in behavior, hyperactivity, relationships with peers and believe to be more pro-socially oriented. They also report a higher level of self-esteem and educational aspirations than they did reported in the previous year. Children at risk perceive a great sense of belonging to the Nest center, while centre staff and their teachers, report a tendency of positive changes in behavior, school achievement and improving work habits.

This method of work and specific approach has proved efficient in working with children at risk. Continued support, safe environment, supportive relationships and positive learning models contribute to a more stable development and growth of these children.

Research on Nest centres 2015