Child well-being should be at the center of all actions and our joint responsibility!
Tatjana Katkić Stanić on the conference, EU Child Guarantee: A unique opportunity for the social inclusion of Roma children
Tatjana Katkić Stanić, Director-General of the Institute for Social Work at Ministry of Labour, Pensions System, Family and Social Policy in Croatia and National Coordinator for EU Child Guarantee in Croatia will present main challenges and successes of the implementation of the program "Phase III: Testing the Child Guarantee in Croatia at the conference European Child Guarantee: A unique opportunity for the social inclusion of Roma children.
1. You are the Director-General of the Institute for Social Work at Ministry of Labour, Pensions System, Family and Social Policy in Croatia – would you say that social welfare system itself is enough to tackle issues Roma children and families from deprived communities face?
Tatjana Katkić Stanić: Both real-life examples and experiences from the field show that these problems cannot be dealt solely by the social welfare system itself. To improve living conditions and ensure better starting positions for every child at risk of poverty and social exclusion, quality cross-sectoral cooperation between health, social welfare, education, police, justice, local community and non-profit sectors is necessary. Their coordinated action, centered around the child and their family, is essential not only for child development, but also to ensure other achievements and life outcomes and, ultimately, the success of the whole society. Child well-being should be at the center of all actions and our joint responsibility.
By testing the Child Guarantee in Medjimurje County, we want to ensure that the most disadvantaged children and families have access to integrated multidisciplinary, adequately funded child protection services, preschool education and early childhood intervention.
2. What is the key to successful implementation of services for Roma families?
Tatjana Katkić Stanić: I would say that the main feature and prerequisite for the success of this program is the implementation of the programme in the community, with the community and for the community. We must bring services closer to the Roma communities and adapt them, in terms of our methods and content to ensure services are tailored to their specific needs.
That is why, within the EU Child Guarantee we will establish community resource centers in the immediate vicinity of Roma settlements to improve availability of services for children and families, and in cooperation with partners in the field, we are continuously adapting services, developing capacities of experts and encouraging active participation of the Roma community.
All three components of the program actively include representatives of the Roma community who participate in the implementation of program. In this way, they also become ambassadors of the program in their community.
3. What are the biggest challenges?
The testing phase requires a focus on supporting sustainable investments in the areas where the most disadvantaged children live and where there are no service providers. Professionals shared with us that coordination and cooperation between systems and experts so far relies mainly on informal channels and individual engagement. Quality cross-sectoral cooperation is the basis for integrated provision of services and support, especially for the most disadvantaged children, families and communities. One of the challenges is to improve and maintain high quality inter-sectoral cooperation at national and local levels. Furthermore, we need to ensure scalability of models and services developed through this pilot-programme in other counties with high rates of child poverty.
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