Parents' Association “Step by Step” was founded in 1996 with the aim of applying the international Step by Step Project. The Association introduced the Step by Step Program into the Croatian kindergartens and schools in order to teach thousands of teachers and tutors about methods of educating children. It started two magazines (“Child, kindergarten and family” and “Child, school and family”) and established a special library for teachers and tutors where the translated curricula for the children in childcare, kindergarten and the first four grades of elementary school can be found. These curricula were developed within the framework of the international Step by Step Project.
In 2003 the Association established a public educational centre called “Step by Step”, a non-profit institution for tutor training in relation to the Step by Step Program, thus allowing Association to focus on the projects and programs designed for parents and children.
PA Step by step’s projects principally address the issue of child abuse prevention, the importance of parents’ active participation in decision making regarding education and other policies concerning children and families and support to teenage mothers and parents.
“Mom is Mom” is a project designed for pregnant teenagers, teenage mothers and their families. The project started in 2005. It is implemented with the aim of preventing risky youth behaviour and providing psychosocial help and support for pregnant teenagers, underage parents and their families. Program activities include MOM IS MOM counselling program, Web portal for underage pregnant girls and parents and the project Step for young mothers with the aim of empowering mothers and preparing them for independent life and active participation in the community. The Project is funded by the Ministry of social policy and youth, the City of Zagreb, The National foundation for civil society development.
CAP program (Child Assault Prevention Program) is the biggest project of the PA “Step by Step”, whose implementation in Croatia started in the year 2000 when CAP was implemented in 13 schools in various parts of Croatia. Today, CAP program is implemented in around 70 schools, 30 kindergartens and 4 educational centres. Four variations of CAP are being implemented in Croatia: Preschool, Elementary, Teen and Special needs CAP. 72.934 children, 48.712 parents and 16.821 kindergarten and education institutions staff participated in CAP program since its launch in 2000 to the year 2014. The Association has developed a network of 250 active CAP facilitators, mainly teachers and other professionals in kindergartens and elementary schools.
Independent evaluation was conducted by the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. The evaluation results indicate high quality of the program since it is being implemented by the trained experts, children’s response is positive: they describe the program as useful and apply its strategies in actual situations. Moreover, children, parents and teachers discuss the issue of child abuse more often than before the workshops.
Currently a new curriculum for the children who use wheelchair or are blind or visually impaired is being created.
Program is funded by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport, Ministry of social policy and youth and local (regional) governments.
Within the “Parents – Children's Advocates ” project parents of the elementary school children were trained to advocate children’s needs and interests, and to establish cooperation with schools and local communities. During 2006 the project was funded by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports. From 2007 it has been carried out under the name “The School Open to Parents” still supported by the same Ministry. In 2009 the project was funded by the National Foundation for Civil Society Development and has been implemented in 10 schools and 6 counties. The goal of the “School Open to Parents” project is to increase participation of parents in developing partnerships between schools and parents as well as self-organization of parents in solving problems related to children and families in the local community. Within the project a research was carried out in Croatian schools amongst parents and teachers to determine crucial elements of parents’ participation in the educational system. The Project was funded by the National Foundation for Civil Society Development and the Institute Open Society Croatia. In partnership with the associations “Roda” and “Idem” a brochure “School Open to Parents” was created and distributed to primary schools.
The project “Have your cake and eat it” is implemented with the goal of informing and raising sensibility of the public, employers and employees about advantages of a family-friendly work place.
Child sexual abuse prevention – a contribution to the „One in five campaign“ which stared in 2011, and until 2014 the following advocacy activities were carried out:
• two round tables: „Prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation of children“, Zagreb, May 2011) and „Prevention of sexual abuse of children: accomplishments and challenges“, Zagreb, May 2014.
• two public debates: „Get consent!“, Zagreb, May 2014, and „Prevention of sexual abuse of children: accomplishments and challenges“, Rijeka, May 2014
• Conference „Systematic approach to child and youth abuse prevention“, Osijek, May 2013
• 19 workshops „Prevention of sexual abuse of children“: Čakovec, Vukovar, Gospić, Koprivnica, Karlovac, Slavonski Brod, Zadar, Zagreb and Velika Gorica (2011), Pula, Split, Osijek, Delnice and Mali Lošinj (2012), Zabok and Dubrovnik (2013) and Sv. Ivan Zelina, Petrinja and Supetar (2014).
Enhance children’s right to be safe (1 July 2013 – 28 February 2015) – a research and advocacy project funded by the European Union. The project's goal is to improve children’s safety in Croatia through improving the dialogue and cooperation between the institutions included in the protection of children's rights. The project is conducted in five counties: Istarska, Primorsko-goranska, Osječko-baranjska, Dubrovačko-neretvanska and the City of Zagreb. A research that was conducted showed insufficient awareness of the problem of violence and respective laws and regulations among Croatian citizens, both experts and layman (parents and youth), inconsistent implementation of the laws and lack of cooperation among the officials responsible for child safety. Five round tables were held, one in each of the included counties were the research results were presented. The round tables gathered representatives from all of the institutions responsible for child safety. In Dubrovnik there was a workshop during which an action plan for the improvement of the social services was created. The final conference will be held in January 2015 were all of the project activities will be presented.
Delete cyberbullying addresses the problem of cyberbullying and includes an application for smartphones, an educational video and a teacher’s manual. The project was developed by the COFACE and is implemented in 14 EU countries. During the 2014 Parents’ association Step by step translated and adjusted the material for the use in Croatian schools. The project was presented to the public on 19 November 2014 which is the International day of child abuse prevention.
Organizations that care (1 January 2015 – 31 December 2016)– a project of civil society and public administration capacity building in creating local policies regarding children and youth funded by the European Union through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) 2011.
The Association is a member of the European Parents’ Association (EPA) and Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union (COFACE).
It is a member and one of the funding associations of the Coordination of Associations for Children in Croatia (CAC).