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Montenegrin singer Sergej Ćetković became a friend of the campaign "Every Child Needs a Family"

PODGORICA, 6 December 2013 – The famous artist in the region, Montenegrin singer Sergej Ćetković, joined forces with UNICEF to support the “Every Child Needs a Family” campaign. He is now the second celebrity to have become friend of this campaign, after the British actor Nicholas Lyndhurst, well known as Rodney from the sitcom ‘Only Fools and Horses’, did so in October 2013.


UNICEF Montenegro Representative Benjamin Perks, Montenegrin singer Sergej Ćetković, and Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Goran Kuševija (from right to left), during the event in KIC “Budo Tomović” - UNICEF Montenegro / 2013   

Sergej himself is a father of two adopted girls, and he emphasized in his speech the importance of ensuring that every child grows up in a loving family environment.

“I had a chance to talk to foster parents from whose experience I understood that the fostering is the best solution for the child that cannot be temporarily raised by his or her own parents. I was impressed with their humanity, love, care, solidarity, and a desire to enrich their lives by sharing it with one or more children,” said Sergej Ćetković, Montenegrin singer.

Jelena Krstajić from Podgorica, who grew up in a foster family, spoke about her experiences of being a foster child in Montenegro: “In the foster family, I did not feel in any way different from other children who were taken care of by their own parents.”


Jelena Krstajić from Podgorica, who grew up in a foster family, spoke about her experiences of being a foster child in Montenegro - UNICEF Montenegro / 2013 

She was especially proud of herself when even she would meet new friends. “I told them I had no parents and then I heard them shocked: But how, you do not look at all like you do not have parents," she concluded.

As pointed out by the UNICEF Montenegro Representative Benjamin Perks, more than 50 years of research show that children who were placed in institutions in early childhood are at risk of psychological and physical delays, which can only be recuperated by the care of a loving family environment. Therefore, ensuring that every child grows up in a loving family environment is necessary for allowing every child to reach the full potential.

“There is no decision that affects the human rights of an individual, throughout their whole life cycle, more that the decision a government takes about what to do with a child who is taken into its care. It’s a fundamental human right for every child to be cared for in a family,” said Benjamin Perks, UNICEF Montenegro Representative.

The Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Goran Kusevija, stressed out the importance of strengthening the foster care within the ongoing child welfare reform in Montenegro.



“We will continue with the strengthening of the foster care within the extended family, and the development of professional foster care with the focus on children under the age of three,” said Goran Kusevija, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare.

Since the launch of the campaign in September, 43 requests for fostering were submitted to the centres for social work across Montenegro, out of which 16 are already being processed. There are currently 109 children living in institutions in Montenegro, while 320 children have been placed in foster families so far, mostly with their relatives.

“Foster care is a temporary form, but the relationship that is established with a fostered child is something that lasts for a lifetime,” said Marija Lepović from the Centre for social work in Podgorica.

Sergej Ćetković invited citizens of Montenegro to get more information on this issue and apply to become foster parents: “My message to all citizens of Montenegro is to provide a family, that is, a happy and safe childhood for each of our children, because nothing can be more important than that.”

The campaign “Every Child Needs a Family” is organized within the project “Social Welfare and Child Care System Reform – Enhancing Social Inclusion” implemented by the Government of Montenegro, with the technical assistance from UNICEF and UNDP and the financial support of the European Union.

 

 
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