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Evaluation of the ‘Opkomst (+)’ project

Study of the methodology used by the city of Malines to provide additional support to future parents.

On behalf of the city of Malines


From until

Support for mothers

As of 2019, future parents in vulnerable situations can turn to 'Opkomst' in Mechelen. There, they not only find someone to listen, but also a team of experts to help and support. Opkomst's social workers, family counsellors and midwives help to find appropriate answers and offer tailor-made advice. This multidisciplinary team supports parents during pregnancy and up to six months after the birth.

The city of Mechelen has already set up a contact point so that expectant parents can get in touch with Opkomst if they need to. First-line partners such as Child & Family, the District Health Centre, hospitals, general practitioners, midwives, the Asylum & Migration Support Centre or poverty organisations can quickly and easily access the support they need through this contact point. This support can range from practical help with administrative issues to intensive family counselling.


For some women or families, there seemed to be a need for more intensive and long-term support. For this reason, the Social House has launched a new project with funding from the King Baudouin Foundation's Child Poverty Fund: 'Opkomst+'. This project focuses on expectant parents who are in a very vulnerable situation. These are often young single mothers who need long-term and intensive support. Opkomst+ can therefore be used from before the baby is born until the child's first day at school. The focus is on the child's development and on the mother, who is often in transition from adolescence to adulthood.


The Centre of Expertise Budget and Financial Well-being was asked to evaluate the functioning, organisation and impact of Opkomst and Opkomst+. Through interviews with social workers, mothers and privileged partners, as well as through the analysis of recorded data, we will describe the functioning, organisation and results of both programmes Questions we want to answer include: who does what, when, how, with what resources and with what results? What do those involved see changing in the short and long term? What works and what does not? Under what conditions? What are the obstacles and barriers?


Heleen Delanghe

Heleen studied Sociology at the University of Antwerp. She focused on reference budgets, minimum income protection and social policy. 


Leen Van Thielen

Leen holds a degree in Sociology from VUB and is currently working as a researcher on projects focusing on reference budgets and poverty reduction.