EU donates EURO 1.4 million for Serbian child protection programmes
11 June, 2008 - Belgrade, Serbia
The EU is providing EURO 1.4 million to UNICEF for a new 30-month project "Transforming Residential Institutions for Children and Developing Sustainable Alternatives".
The project will be managed by the European Agency for Reconstruction and implemented by UNICEF in partnership with the Serbian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The aim is to ensure full capacity of the child care system in responding to the needs of the most vulnerable groups of children in Serbia. In line with the government’s Social Welfare Development Strategy and National Plan of Action for Children, the project will assist in:
It is expected that the project will contribute in reducing the number of children in residential institutions in Serbia by 25% up to 2011 and, that this percentage will be further increased in the following years.
The placement of disadvantaged children - without parental care, with developmental difficulties or with behavioural problems - in large residential institutions is one of the most potent mechanisms contributing to social exclusion. Nevertheless, it has been for several decades a leading feature of the child care and protection system in Serbia. According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy 2006 Annual Report, close to 3,000 children reside in 25 large institutions located all over Serbia.
Through its National Investment Programme (NIP), the Serbian government has committed EURO 1 million under NIP 2008 and earmarked a further EURO 3 million in NIP 2009 for reconstruction and refurbishment of residential institutions for children to transform them into centres that respond to local social protection needs.
The EU-funded project will last 30 months. The main partners, in addition to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, are local communities and civil society organisations who will have a critical role in furthering the process of deinstitutionalisation.
For more information:
Mr Srdjan Staletovic