Christina de Bruin: Bulgaria can become a leader in addressing child poverty and social exclusionане

Over 140 million euro from the European Social Fund+ will be available to Bulgaria for the implementation of the European Child Guarantee, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor and Social Policy Galab Donev

22 October 2021
Christina de Bruyne and Minister of Labor and Social Policy Galab Donev at a meeting
UNICEF Bulgaria/2021/Yotova
EU Child Guarantee
UNICEF Bulgaria/2021

“The European Child Guarantee is a comprehensive initiative with the potential to overcome obstacles to the social inclusion of the most disadvantaged children in the European Union. As one of the seven pilot member states implementing a European Child Guarantee pilot programme, Bulgaria can become a leader in addressing child poverty and social exclusion.” This was stated by UNICEF Representative for Bulgaria Christina de Bruin at the opening of the event “The European Child Guarantee - a reality for children in Bulgaria: The Voice of Youth”.

The meeting was held on 21 October 2021 under the patronage of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor and Social Policy Galab Donev and was organized by UNICEF, the Embassy of Slovenia, and the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria. It was also attended by the National Coordinator for the European Child Guarantee and Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy Nadia Klisurska, the Chairperson of the State Agency for Child Protection Dr. Eleonora Lilova, representatives of the Ministries of Education and Health, the Executive Director of the National Network for Children Georgi Bogdanov, and over 60 participants online among which children and youth champions.

During the forum the one-year progress in the implementation of the pilot project "European Child Guarantee" in Bulgaria was marked, the project being funded by the European Commission and implemented with the support of UNICEF. Young people who participated in the discussion presented their views and recommendations on national policies to support children and families as well as for the application of the European Child Guarantee. They demanded that their voice be heard while making decisions that affect them. 

"The European Child Guarantee already has a positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable children in Bulgaria," said Christina de Bruin. She added that behind the numbers are real stories from the lives of children, their families and the professionals who support them.

UNICEF Bulgaria/2021

Main results from the implementation of the pilot project so far

In 12 months, the pilot project covered and supported more than 10,200 children, 3,600 parents and 560 professionals from different sectors.

• More than 7,500 home visits were provided to pregnant women and parents with young children

• 3 teams have been created to provide early childhood intervention and support to families with young children with disabilities and developmental difficulties

• 33 additional specialists have been hired - speech therapists, psychologists, resource teachers - in 30 kindergartens to facilitate the inclusion of children with disabilities and learning difficulties in preschool education

• 7 mobile teams have been created in 6 social services and one municipal administration for field work and individualized support for families with children in precarious situation, including from marginalised Roma communities

• 11 additional social workers were hired in 10 Child Protection Departments to strengthen the work on prevention of separation of children from families.

"These results have been achieved thanks to the commitment and tireless efforts of all service providers, project implementation partners, local and central authorities who are the "Humans of the EU Child Guarantee". I want to thank you and applaud you all"

- said the UNICEF Representative in Bulgaria.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor and Social Policy Galab Donev noted that "The Child Guarantee recalls the responsibility of adults to deal with the poverty that children inherit from their parents." He pointed out that over 140 million euro from the European Social Fund+ will be available to Bulgaria to finance measures under the National Plan for the implementation of the European Child Guarantee, which will support more than 200,000 children and school children under 18 years of age.

"I am convinced that the pilot project will provide the basis for the national plan that is currently being prepared," noted the National Coordinator for the European Child Guarantee and Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy Nadia Klisurska. "Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and really carry out what we are planning. We can only do it together with the active involvement of young people in this process"

-she added.

H. E. Mr. Anžej Frangeš, Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to the Republic of Bulgaria noted: “Providing assistance to children from their earliest childhood years is extremely important for the creation of a just society and a sustainable economy. Within the mandate of the Slovenian Presidency of the European Commission, we view the European Child Guarantee as an important mechanism for breaking the cycle of poverty and social exclusion that is passed down between generations", he added.  

"I would like to thank the European Commission for its support for UNICEF, as you have helped to make rapid progress and to build the Child Guarantee as a solid foundation. This is extremely important for the success of the initiative", was said in the address of the Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria Tzvetan Kyulanov to the forum and underlined “We cannot afford to waste time, the future of European children depends on this initiative and they are waiting for it”.

Maria Alexandrova, the Bulgarian representative of the EC Board for Youth Consultations and Ambassador of U-Report stated

"It is crucial that our opinion is brought to the fore, especially on topics that directly affect us. It seems to me that it is important for this message to be heard and taken into account right now and in the context of work in the next few months, when the policies through which the European Child Guarantee in Bulgaria will be implemented”.

"The price of exclusion is much higher than the price of inclusion,"

- said Dilian Manolov, co-founder of the Visioner Foundation and a UNICEF youth champion.

He called for better access to education and health care for the most excluded children in Bulgaria, more support for parents and local communities and appealed: "Nothing for us without us. If we provide children with better quality education, health care, if decisions for them are made together with them, we will create people who are able to think critically and make the best decisions for themselves and for the future", noted Manolov.

The Chairperson of the State Agency for Child Protection Dr. Eleonora Lilova also called on young people to be not just spectators, but participants in the preparation of the National Plan for the implementation of the European Child Guarantee. She emphasized that the good practices of the pilot project should not remain only at the local level, but should be ensured sustainability and implemented at the national level.


This project is funded by the European Union

© UNICEF-Bulgaria, 2021

The information and views in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Union. The institutions and bodies of the European Union or a person acting on their behalf cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

Media contacts

Krasimira Antimova
Communication Officer
UNICEF Bulgaria
Tel: +359 882 344 553

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfil their potential. And we never give up. UNICEF, for every child.

Follow UNICEF on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.