Group care in Belgium

Group care implementation sites in Belgium

More information about group care in Belgium can be found here:


One of the sites for group care in Belgium is Aalst.


One of the sites for group care in Belgium is Leuven.


One of the sites for group care in Belgium is Gent. In Gent, the first GC_1000 group care session took place after going through all the fases: Rapid Assessment, adaptations, training, start GC_1000!


Meanwhile, their team grew. Four midwives and a social worker joined forces. Together, in March 2023, they were already counselling their 11th group during pregnancy and after birth. They plan more groups until at least May 2024 and are always looking for more enthusiasts to join their team.


By the end of 2022, the implementation phase was complete. Now the team is exploring multidisciplinary ways to make Group Care in Ghent more sustainable.




The rapid assessment for Belgium took place in the fall of 2020.

The first training took place in October.


In 2021 the adaptation of the group care model to the context at the implementation sites in Belgium will be performed in the first half of 2021 in collaboration with a local research team.

Centering-based group care started in April in Gent and in May in Leuven and Aalst.

A second training will take place in May. 


Results of the project are expected in 2024

Who will benefit from group care in Belgium?

To start with, the group care 1000 project or GC1000 will be beneficial to women, their babies and families in Aalst, Leuven and Ghent. Besides medical follow-up they will learn from and with each other in preparation to childbirth and postpartum. They will be engaged through building a social support network.

However, the benefit of implementing group care will not be limited to the participants within these groups only. In addition, the health care professionals facilitating those groups would experience its positive effects. Being able to spend more time with the women participating in group care and getting to really know the women in the group are some amongst its many benefits.

The facilitators and health care professionals involved will be at the forefront of implementing Group Care in Belgium, a national group care training center will be set up. This might support and strengthen the role of the midwife in Belgium as well. That being said, not only midwives take care of the women. Group care will boost the cooperation between the multidisciplinary teams involved in the care of the women.

Since this GC1000 project focusses on vulnerable women, attention will also be paid to the importance of systematic screening, using methods like the Born in Brussels screening tool, to monitor the vulnerability of pregnant women.

Finally, master students would also be joining the research team in different stages of the GC1000 project in Belgium, which would provide them insights in implementation research and expose them to the group care model.

Happy and healthy mothers and babies after group care will be beneficial for the society and national health care system.

Research results on how to implement as well as the effectiveness of group care in Belgium will beneficial to scale-up the model in our country and even translate it beyond pregnancy as well.


Are you interested in group care for pregnant women and postnatal group care for families? Please contact the research team in Belgium: 

Prof. Dr. Katrien Beeckman

Country lead & WP 3 lead

Prof. dr. Katrien Beeckman is trained as midwife (2001), obtained a Master in Health Promotion (2004) and a PhD in Social Health Sciences (2011). Currently she is coordinator of the Nursing and Midwifery research group at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The focus of her work is on the organisation of antenatal care especially for social vulnerable women. Besides implementing new /adapted models of care, tools for screening on psychosocial vulnerability and measuring adequacy of antenatal care were developed. She is one of the key stakeholders for implementing Group Care in Belgium and therefore is involved in CG_1000 for Belgium. She is leading WP3. Furthermore, she is professor at the University of Antwerp, where she is involved in the Master in Nursing and Midwifery. Besides participation in teaching, she is promotor of several master theses and vice president of the research group MidRep (Midwifery Research Education and Policymaking).

Astrid Van Damme

Astrid Van Damme is a midwife (2012), and obtained a Master of Science in Nursing/Midwifery (2015). She worked as a midwife within ‘Child & Family’ in the city of Gent for over five years, gaining a lot of experience in working together with vulnerable families and creating opportunities for and with them. Currently she is fulltime involved in the GC_1000 project as a PhD researcher in the Nursing and Midwifery research group at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Her research is focussing on Work Package 3 regarding the context-specific adaptations and development of adaptation strategies.

Florence Talrich

Florence Talrich (female) is a midwife (2012), obtained a master in Sociology (2016) and Public Health (2014). This combination of a scientific as well as substantial background is beneficial for the project. Currently she works as a researcher/PhD student in the Nursing and Midwifery research group. The aim of her research is to investigate the implementation of Group Care in several Brussels organisations, targeting vulnerable pregnant women. Before she worked at the government on projects focusing on quality in care and patient safety. Besides she worked as volunteer in projects for supporting young families living in poverty: “buddy at the crib” and ‘MammaMee”.

Bianca Eerens

Bianca Eerens Sarango is an Ecuadorian/Belgian midwife (2010) and obtained a master's degree in Sexology (2014). She worked in a hospital on the outskirts of Brussels for three years before switching to home care. She founded Wheel of Care, a home care organization in Brussels with midwives and nurses on bicycles, focusing on slow care and ecology. After that she taught future midwives at Erasmus University College for two years, where she passed on her passion for person-centered care and diversity themes to the students. She currently works part-time for Born in Belgium Professionals; a government project that offers a platform to support care providers who come into contact with vulnerable pregnant women and part-time within the GC1000 project where she mainly focuses on work package 5 in the evaluation of the implementation of GroupCare.