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Using evidence in shaping disability policy in Romania: the case of sheltered workshops

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Background: The importance of using evidence to inform the policymaking process has been well established in the literature and practice. In Western countries evidence-based policy (EBP) is already accepted and implemented in many policy areas, including disability policy. In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) the interest in EBP (evidence-based policy) is new and limited, hampered in many aspects by the regional specificity of the public administration and welfare services reform.

Aims and objectives: The present article aims to explore the development of evidence-based disability employment policy in Romania, in a specific area of work integration: sheltered workshops.

Methods: The article draws on the findings of extensive research on sheltered workshops that included multiple research methods, such as public policy analysis, social documents analysis, and secondary data analysis of quantitative and qualitative data.

Findings: A number of issues concerning the implementation of evidence-based disability policy in Romania have been identified. Some of these issues are related to the administrative and policy capacity of the government. Others are linked to the limitation of the advocacy capacity of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) active in the disability area, or to the weak presence of the academic/research community in the disability policy forum.

Discussion and conclusions: There is a limited knowledge of how evidence-based disability policy is developed in CEE countries. This article will emphasise the role of the sheltered workshops in shaping the policy solutions in the area of work integration for persons with disabilities. The article will contribute to better understanding of the disability policy reform, looking closely at how the evidence is built and used within the disability policy process.
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Keywords: disability policy; evidence-based policy; sheltered workshop; social enterprises

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Romanian Academy, Romania 2: University of Bucharest, Romania

Publication date: May 2021

This article was made available online on March 31, 2021 as a Fast Track article with title: "Using evidence in shaping disability policy in Romania: the case of sheltered workshops".

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