4.6 Access to quality services
On this page
On this page
Since May 2019, Cyprus has a new Housing Policy Framework (Νέο Πλαίσιο Στεγαστικής Πολιτικής). This policy framework is run by the Ministry of Interior together with the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance, the Housing Finance Corporation (Οργανισμός Χρηματοδοτήσεως Στέγης) and the Cyprus Land Development Corporation(Κυπριακός Οργανισμός Αναπτύξεως Γης). The policy includes financial support (from €20.000 to €65.000) in order to buy, build or renovate a house directed at single persons, couples, families, single parent families, people with disabilities, low-income people/families and displaced people.
In addition, the policy offers financial support for the monthly rent of the displaced people and the people who are recipients of the Guaranteed Minimum Income.
The Social Welfare Services (Υπηρεσίες Κοινωνικής Ευημερίας) of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance offer a number of State Institutions which provide social services to the whole population, including young people. More specifically, state Institutions provide shelter, protection and care to children, the elderly and the disabled as their permanent home or as a place to stay for a few hours during the day. Below the main institutions are presented:
- Nicosia Youth Hostel (boys): The Nicosia Youth Hostel operates since 1957. It accommodates boys between 13 – 21 years of age, who can not stay elsewhere due to various reasons.
- Youth Hostel for teenage girls: The Youth Hostel for teenage girls started its operation on 3.3.1998. It is the only pan Cyprian State Institution that provides care and protection to teenage girls who can not stay elsewhere due to various reasons.
- Special State Institution for teenagers: Since November 1997, the Larnaca Youth Hostel has been refurbished upgraded and converted to the Special State Institution for teenagers. It accommodates teenagers who can not live elsewhere.
- “The Children’s House”: Since January 2018, “The Children’s House” provides a range of services to children who have been victims of sexual abuse and exploitation under the one roof. The Children's House seeks to serve justice in a child-friendly manner while ensuring children’s safety, security, protection and well-being through a multidisciplinary approach. The management and operation of “The Children’s House” is entrusted to the “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center by the Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Insurance, and the overall oversight of the Ombudsman is carried out by the Social Welfare Services in co-operation with competent services. The Children's House operates with the direct and systematic cooperation of the Cyprus Police, the Social Welfare Services, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth. Also, the same organization runs a Foster Care program, through which foster families are linked to children and/or youth which are looking for a safe family environment.
The top-level policy measures establishing health care services and facilities for young people are the following:
- The 1410 Help Line and the e-counseling. The Help Line and the e-counseling are offered by the Youth Board of Cyprus. The Help Line was introduced in 1990 and it offers it services up to now. It is the first Help Line to operate in Cyprus. The Help Line and the e-counseling service aim to help people that want to receive responsible answers on issues that concern their daily life, but also on more complex issues such as addictive substances, sexuality issues, eating disorders and others. The Help Line and the e-counseling service offer:
- Information for various psychological issues,
- Information provision for other bodies, organisations and associations operating in our country,
- Referral to other services, when this is considered as important for further evaluation and intervention,
- Counseling’ so that callers will be able to speak about the issue that concerns them, to recognise the next step and be encouraged to do it,
- Crisis management’ in cases that it is an urgent need, and
- The Line and e-counseling are available for all youth.
- Protasi: The main aim of the ‘Protasi’ Counseling Services is to provide support and guidance for young people, couples and families that face difficulties in their lives. This applies for children, adolescents and young people that want to share their personal concerns with a professional counselor in a confidential approach. In addition, couples and parents that face difficulties in their interpersonal relationships or in their families can benefit from this service as well. The services are offered by the Youth Board of Cyprus and cover the following issues:
- Possible concerns and problems for discussion,
- Relationships problems (friendly, love or marital),
- Considerations on Substances dependence issues,
- Family violence,
- Antisocial/ delinquent behavior, and
- Any other issue of concern.
- Prevention Centre “Micri Arktos”: The main aim of the Prevention Centre is the development of personal and social skills, the enhancement of protective factors and the reduction of factors that may lead a person to the use of addictive substances, to an addictive relationship or to any harmful or delinquent behavior.Micri Arktos organises and accomplishes prevention programs and fragmented actions (e.g. lectures) in schools and for the wider community: parents, children, adolescents, teachers and for other social groups (journalists, police officers, militants etc.).
- Health Visitors is a service offered by the Ministry of Health (Υπουργείο Υγείας). Health visitors, among others offer School Health Services. Currently the following Health Visitors’ Services are available in Cyprus:
- Maternity and Child Health Care clinics
- School Health Care Services
- Vaccinations and Prevention of Communicable Diseases
- Health Education
- Epidemiological Studies
- Services for parents and pregnant women
The role of the Health Visitor at school can be summarized to the following:
- To carry out various screening tests in order to detect disease at an early stage or to prevent it.
- To offer health education and health counseling to promote health and prevent illness.
- To care for the ill or injured students or co-ordinate the care given by other professionals.
- To carry out, the vaccinations according to the Cyprus Ministry of Health Vaccinations Schedule.
- To prevent and investigate communicable diseases at school.
Health education is handled by the Health visitors during their daily contacts with students or other school personnel and via applied health education programs, which aim at giving knowledge and/or promoting the adaptation of healthy behavior or even changing an unhealthy behavior. There is not information about the professional development for health care mediators.
A national health mediators network does not exist in Cyprus.
Some of the top-level policy measures regarding financial services accessible to young people in Cyprus are the following:
- Student Grants. Different Student Grants such as Scholarships (Φοιτητική Χορηγία) or Allowances (Φοιτητικά Επιδόματα) are offered on the basis of socio-economic criteria to Cypriot students or students from other EU countries who reside permanently in the Republic of Cyprus or non-EU students who have graduate from Cypriot secondary schools and have at least on parent who is from Cyprus or another EU country. The different grants include: housing allowance per month, board allowance, grant for the purchase of university books and grant for the purchase or upgrade of a computer. The grants are offered by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth.
- Family benefits. Family benefits of the Republic of Cyprus include among others Child Benefit, Single Parent Benefit and the Grant for Special Assistance to single mothers for child birth.
- Services and Social Benefits for persons with disabilities. These include allowances schemes for people with different kind of disabilities.
- The Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) scheme (Ελάχιστο Εγγυημένο Εισόδημα). The GMI scheme is part of the Guaranteed Minimum Income and Social Benefits Law of 2014, which has two basic aims: a) to provide better support to groups who are exposed to the risk of poverty, and b) to improve the operational efficiency of the overall system. The monetary benefits available fall into two basic categories: a monthly payment to bring the beneficiary’s income up to the level of the GMI and monthly housing benefit, either as a rent allowance or as an allowance to cover interest on housing loans. The GMI recipients’ eligibility criteria include the following:
- Age conditions: The applicant must be at least 28 years old. However, this restriction does not apply to married persons, single parents, orphans, disabled persons and persons who are under the legal care of the Director of Social Welfare.
- Nationality conditions: Third country nationals are eligible if they are permanent residents, refugees or victims of human trafficking.
- Residency conditions: Recipients should have been legally residing in the controlled area of Cyprus continuously for at least five years before the date of the application.
- Employment conditions: Unemployed and low-paid employees are eligible for the benefit, but a set of conditions should be fulfilled.
- Asset conditions: The recipient’s assets should not exceed a certain amount of money.
- The Unemployment Benefit (Επίδομα Ανεργίας) is provided to insured employees or optionally insured persons who are employed under any Cypriot employer and are aged between 16 and 63 years old. The benefit is provided for a period of 156 dates and various requirements apply (e.g. days of insured employment, etc.).
It is not available whether systems of quality assurance of these inclusive services exist in Cyprus.