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Street children in Bulgaria The governmental approach

Street children in Bulgaria The governmental approach. Eva Golovinska Senior expert, State Agency for Child Protection, Bulgaria Brussels, Belgium May 5-6, 200 8. State Agency for Child Protection. Established: January 1st, 2001

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Street children in Bulgaria The governmental approach

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  1. Street children in BulgariaThe governmental approach Eva Golovinska Senior expert, State Agency for Child Protection, Bulgaria Brussels, Belgium May 5-6, 2008

  2. State Agency for Child Protection • Established: January 1st, 2001 • Council of Ministers specialized body for guidance, coordination and control in the area of child protection; • Development of the state child protection policy; • Elaboration and control of the implementation of national and regional child protection programs; • Licensing of natural persons and legal entities, providing child care services; • Monitoring of child rights observance.

  3. Bulgarian Child Protection System

  4. I. DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM Definition of the problem “Street children”: • Identified as neglected; • Deprived of parental or other kind of care and control. Street children can: • Reside on the street periodically-alone, accompanied by an adult and/or informal groups. These are children, who spend the day on the street, involved in different severe forms of child labour, but in the evening they return in an institution or their homes; • Live and work in the street – alone and/or informal groups. These are children who have no connection with the family and have developed consistent habits for life in the streets and “street way of life”.

  5. TYPES OF STREET CHILDREN: • Temporarily homeless – left child institutions, their families or neglected. Most of these children return home when circumstances change; • Permanently homeless – drop-outs; permanently left their homes or institutions. They live in old ruins, parks and markets. Child protection departments in most cases have no other legal possibilities to work with them.

  6. FAMILY HISTORY: Most of these children are: • Of Roma origin; • From big families; • Children with convicted parents; • Children with parents living abroad; • From socially vulnerable families; • Have family history of begging.

  7. POTENTIAL RISKS TO STREET CHILDREN: Basic forms of child labour in the street: • Beggary – most popular way for gaining small amounts of money; • Small deals – selling of goods, clothes, flowers, etc.; • Theft – children learn from their relatives, who also spend their time on the streets; • Sexual exploitation – street children are the most vulnerable group. They are used for pornographic materials and sexual activities.

  8. II. STATISTICS Number of children, placed in 1.shelters, 2.day centers and 3.homes for temporary placement of children deprived of control and care:

  9. III. LEGAL FRAMEWORK The laws and procedures are in line with the requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and international standards: • In the Child Protection Act (a.11,para 1) the right to protection against involvement in activities harmful to the child’s physical, mental, moral and educational development; • (a.11.para 2) defines the right to protection against harmful educational methods, physical, mental and other forms of influence; • (a.11.para 3) defines the right of the child not to be involved for beggary, prostitution and sexual violence; • (a.25.para 4) defines the possibility in case of violence and risk for child’s development he/she to be placed out of the family; • (a.38) defines the police protection as a urgent measure when the child is: subject of crime, is lost or without control.

  10. IV. GOVERNMENTAL APPROACH National strategy for the child 2008-2018 • Adopted in 2008; • Main child policy framework; • Developed after wide public discussion and in an online forum of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy between governmental institutions, NGOs, Child Council to the State Agency for Child Protection, other children from Bulgaria.

  11. Strategy Objectives Main objective: Provision of possibilities for effective execution of child rights and improvement of quality of life as a precondition for their free and full personal development. Operational objectives: • Decreasing of child poverty and creating conditions for their social inclusion. There is a tendency for decreasing the poverty level among the population, but there is still a risk among: ethnic minorities, older women, single parents, children at risk, long term unemployed people, etc.; • Providing equal access to quality pre-school education and school education to all children; • Improvement of children’s health; • Promoting the participation of children in forming and elaboration of policies, connected with their rights and responsibilities.

  12. Social work with street children Methodology: • Identification of begging and children working in the street; • Identification of children, permanently living in the street; • Creating of individual contact; • Investigation of every case; • Creating files, including: name and address of the child, family and relatives, health status, education; • Observation, systematic and long-term work with a group; • Informing and cooperation with the Child Protection Departments and Local Police Departments and targeting the child towards different social services; • Accompanying the child to the family and to different institutions, when necessary; • Providing help for health services for the child; • Working with parents, family and relatives.

  13. Social work with street children The Chairperson of SACP licenses all the providers for social services for children by type: • Mobile social work for street children; • Day centers; • Shelters.

  14. Cooperation with Institutions, NGOs and International Organizations • Elaboration of Methodology for social services for children and families – municipalities, Agency for Social Assistance, Child Protection Departments and institutions for children; • “Mobile outreach work with street children” Project, provided by “Children and Youth” NGO; • Elaboration of annual program against the worst forms of child labour with Executive Agency “ Chief Labour Inspectorate”; • “Provision of technical support against child labour and sexual exploitation of children, including trafficking in children for Central and Eastern European countries” Project – International Labour Organization.

  15. V. New Methods for Signal Submitting • National Hotline for Children– important element in the system for child protection against violence, abuse and exploitation. • Easy to remember number – 0800 19 100; • National coverage; • Free service; • 24/7 service; • Confidential and anonymous; • Started at the end of 2007. Statistics – nearly 400 real signals for children at risk. • Specialized website against commercial sexual exploitation of children- specialized form for submitting signals-(2005-47 signals, 2006-217 signals, 2007-219 signals). • Online consultation – “Teenager Club” (2003-2007 – over 900 signals). • Online consultation – “Parent Club"(started on the 1th of June, 2007)

  16. National Hotline for Children -The Initiative of the State Agency for Child Protection Joint project with UNICEF and Center “Nadya” NGO

  17. Specialized Web Site against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children www.stopech.sacp.government.bg

  18. On-line consultation – “Teenager Club”

  19. On-line consultation – “Parent Club” Most popular topics: • Social issues; • Parental rights; • Violation of child rights (violence and drug abuse); • Foster parenting; • Maternity benefits (family economical level); • Educational problems (pre-school and school); • Unsuitable social conditions for raising of children; • Unhealthy parental relations; • Child as a family violence witness; • Children with disabilities; • Incidents with children.

  20. VI. Bulgarian EU Membership –Some Challenges Raising the living standards and possibility for: • Flows of immigrants and refugees from non-member countries – increasing the numbers of potential street children from other countries; • Raising the number of children and families travelling to other EU countries; • Strengthening the cooperation with municipalities, NGO sector, business and international organizations.

  21. Contact details: State Agency for Child Protection Bulgaria, 1051 Sofia, 2 “Triaditza” str. Tel.:+359 2 933 90 50, fax: +359 2 980 24 15 E-mail: sacp@sacp.government.bg Web: www.sacp.government.bg www.stopech.sacp.government.bg Eva Golovinska: tel.: +359 2 933 90 43 E-mail: egolovinska@sacp.government.bg

  22. Thank you for your attention!

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