Questions and Answers about FICE

What do the initials FICE stand for?

The initials FICE are usually pronounced fee-say. FICE stands for the Fédération Internationale des Communautés Educatives - the French version of its name. The literal English meaning is the International Federation of Educative Communities, but that does not really describe what FICE does.

What does FICE do?

It is concerned about high standards of services for children and young people, especially those who have to live away from their own homes. Its activities include some which involve children, but mostly it supports the people who work with them.

It runs conferences, produces publications, runs the Professional Experience Programme and a lot of other projects. In general, FICE-International offers its members the chance to network, to learn about new ideas from other countries and other people's ways of doing things, and to make friends in other countries who are in the same line of work.

Is FICE only concerned about children and young people?

Children and youth are FICE's main concern. However, some of the National Members of FICE have individual or organisational members who work with other client groups. A lot of important issues in work with children are also of concern for other groups. However, for the present, FICE has decided to stay focused on children and young people, so that it does not lose its special focus and knowledge.

I've heard that FICE used to be for residential child care workers. Is that still true?

When FICE was first set up, it was to support people working in residential childcare, but there have been members for many years now who work in other settings. There are residential childcare workers, social educators, social pedagogues, psychologists, teachers and members of other professions in membership. (There are dozens of job titles, and they vary from country to country.) Some work in homes, some in schools, some in day services, some in the community and some in other places. Besides front-line workers, FICE members include managers, lecturers, trainers, inspectors, researchers and a lot of other people who support the front-line staff.

If services are to be of high quality, they need to keep evolving, and we must not shut our minds to new ideas and ways of doing things. FICE therefore keeps evolving and is a good place to share the latest thinking.

If FICE has a French name, do all the members have to speak French?

At present FICE works in three official languages for its main international events - English, French and German. There are interpreters who are fluent in these three languages. A lot of FICE members can also speak more than one language, and there is usually no difficulty getting understood.

If someone cannot speak any of the three official languages, they need to get help from someone who can speak their own language and a FICE language, to interpret for them.

Events run by the National Members of FICE may be in the language of the home country, or sometimes in more than one language, if different countries or cultures are involved.

Who are the members of FICE?

FICE-International is made up of National Members, which are organisations which represent their countries. They must have open membership so that individuals and agencies can join them and be represented by them on the Federal Council. Because things are organised differently in each country, the organisations on FICE's Federal Council are of many different sorts, and in a few cases, two organisations share the representation of their country.

What is the Federal Council?

The Federal Council, (sometimes called the CF because of its French name), is the main body which manages FICE's business. It meets twice a year in different countries. If you want to know more, see the separate sections on the Structure of FICE [Click here] and the Federal Council.[Click here]

How many members does FICE have?

There are over thirty countries in membership at present, mainly from Europe, but FICE is keen to involve members from other continents, and there are Corresponding Members in many countries. Some of the National Members are very large organisations and some are small. We do not know the exact individual membership of FICE-International, as the National Members count their members in different ways, but there must be over 100,000 individuals who are connected to FICE worldwide.

Where is FICE's office?

The Secretariat of FICE-International is provided at present by the office of the President, Theo Binnendijk, in the Netherlands. Many of the National Members also have their own offices. Contact details for the FICE-International office and the National Members are given on this website. [Click here]

Does FICE work with other organisations?

Yes. It is FICE's policy to work in partnership with other international organisations which have similar aims and whose values are consistent with those of FICE. They include associations such as the International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO) and the International Association of Social Educators (AIEJI). Details about these organisations can be found in the Links Section. [Click here for Links]

FICE-International also has consultative status with UNESCO, the European Union and ECOSOC. This means that it sends delegates to meetings of relevant committees and is involved in discussions about draft policies and developments.

How is FICE financed?

When FICE was set up by UNESCO, it was given a grant to provide core funding. Since changes in UNESCO policy, FICE-International's budget has been made up mainly of fees paid by Full Members. Since these organisations also have to run their own national programmes, the level of fees is kept to a minimum, but maintaining international links is not cheap.

Does FICE give grants?

As a general rule, the answer is No. FICE-International does not have the resources to give grants. However, there are times when support may be given to help individuals from countries with weak economies, to attend Congresses for example, and National Members at times work on joint projects with colleagues in less developed countries who are needing support in their work.

Can I join FICE?

Certainly. The next section of the website tells you how. [Click]