Monitoring of State Subprograms on Foster Care and Reintegration

One of the important issues in the Public Defender's report 2015 is monitoring of state subprograms on foster care and reintegration, which was first held in 2015 within the mandate of the Public Defender by the support from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The monitoring assessed performance of foster care and reintegration procedures by the responsible agencies on the basis of recommendations of the Venice Commission, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the relevant resolutions of the European Council of Ministers in the following areas: violence, exploitation and other forms of ill-treatment, protection from poverty and inadequate living conditions, privacy and individual approach, high-quality and timely health care, equal access to education, discrimination and unequal treatment.

According to the monitoring, 25% of beneficiaries lived in small group homes before being enrolled in the foster care subprogram and 75% - in biological families. Leading factors for withdrawing juveniles from their biological families were violence and other forms of ill-treatment, poverty, poor living conditions and negligence.

Since it is difficult to identify the victims of violence and at the same time, each region has only one psychologist, no assessment of psychological needs or psycho-emotional rehabilitation of juveniles, who had been victims of violence in the past, were carried out during enrolling them in the foster care subprogram.

An individual educational plan and a special needs teacher are needed for 15% of juveniles with special educational needs.

A significant number of reintegrated children live in poverty; do not have adequate housing, educational conditions or household items; sanitary norms are violated; proper nutrition, social services and subprograms are unavailable.

Effectiveness analysis of the social protection system shows that an important part of the reintegrated families are enrolled in the emergency state aid subprogram for poverty families, however, 90% of the interviewed legal representatives of the children say that the allowance is not enough for providing proper socio-economic conditions and nurturing environment for the children.

In the field of implementation of the right to access to general and vocational education, an important problem of the reintegrated children is continuation of vocational education after getting primary education. Due to geographical and financial problems, part of the beneficiaries was not able to receive vocational education. In some cases, children with special needs were not contacted to the general educational establishment for developing individual curriculum for them.

By the Public Defender’s recommendation, in order to increase efficiency of the subprograms, the Government and the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs must initiate special subprograms, must ensure systematic and regular training of foster families; attention should be given to reinforcement of families and children enrolled in the kinship foster care subprogram; awareness of reintegrated families must be increased about the issues of violence, exploitation and other forms of ill-treatment; steps should be taken for social strengthening of the families living in relative poverty, especially in the mountainous regions and rural areas.

* The monitoring results of the foster care subprograms will be fully reflected in the Public Defender’s special report.

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