Health workers and social welfare professionals trained to prevent abandonment of newborns in Montenegro
MILOCER, 12 – 17 March, 2012 – For the first time in Montenegro, around 100 health workers and social welfare professionals were trained how to provide support to families in order to prevent baby abandonment.
The aim of the trainings is to raise capacities of health workers and social welfare professionals so that they can provide adequate support to parents at risk of relinquishing or abandoning their newborns and small children in maternity wards and hospitals.
Support to the women by the health and social protection system starting from ante-natal education and continuing in maternity wards are key to successful bonding with their babies and the development of good parenting skills.
Deinstitutionalization requires an intersectoral approach and strong collaboration between the social welfare, health and education sectors.
UNICEF consultant Prof. dr. Viktorija Cucic said that it was very important that the workshop gathered professionals from health and social services so that they could exchange their experiences and understand that they have to work together in order to prevent separation of children from their families.
UNICEF Representative Benjamin Perks saluted the Government’s commitment to prevent placement in institutional care of children below three years of age.
‘’Just recently, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare presented the main changes in the draft of the new Law on Social and Child Protection, which contains a provision that children under three years of age are not to be placed in institutions. This is a positive recognition and a step forward to prevention of baby abandonment and I hope this provision will stay in the final text of the new Law on Social and Child Protection,’’ said UNICEF Representative Benjamin Perks.
The workshop reminded participants that every child’s fundamental right is to be cared for by his or her own parents, whenever possible. Families needing support to care for their children should receive it. For children who cannot be raised by their own families, an appropriate alternative family environment should be sought. Institutional care should be used only as a last resort and as a temporary measure, until the child can return to a family environment.