"All parents have the right to support of society in their parental role!”

The workshops "Growing Up Together Plus" recognized on a national level and are part of the National action plan within EU Child Guarantee program

24 November 2022
sudionici seminara
DSoldo/UNICEF
  • Workshops Growing Up Together Plus were developed as part of the pilot program "Phase III: Testing the Guarantee for every child in Croatia"
  • The results of the evaluation of the program show that workshops meet needs of parents and enable changes in behaviour

 

Čakovec, November 4, 2022 – The series of workshops Growing Up Together Plus in 7 Roma settlements which were developed as part of the pilot program "Phase III: Testing the Guarantee for every child in Croatia" financed by the European Union has been successfully completed.

The results of the evaluation of the work during workshops Growing Up Together Plus in 7 groups within 7 Roma settlements showed that participation in the workshops is associated with changes in the relationship with the children, in the relationship with the partner and in one's own perception of oneself in the parental role.

Moms who come out of the program actually play with their children more often, read picture books to them, praise them and are satifised with the results of the program. Also, they were happy with what they heard from the presenters and from other moms, they rated comics and support for change highly, and it was also useful for them that the children could go to workshops for children. In short - what they heard from the presenters and other moms, they gave it the highest possible marks”, Nina Pećnik, president of the Board of the Center for Parenting Support Growing Up Together explains.

“The novelty within EU Child Guarantee is that we have developed a program for parents of the Roma national minority, in cooperation with our partner Center for Parenting Support Growing Up Together. We are proud that the workshops are recognized at the national level, so the National Action Plan for the EU Child Guarantee includes this program, and we believe that other communities, along with Medjimurje County, will start this program so that parents can receive support in their most important role. We are particularly proud that the program is the result of the joint work of the academic community, practitioners in the field, Roma cultural mediators - Growing Up Together activists, parents and children, and that the implementation is supported at the national, regional and local level," said Martina Štabi, Child protection specialist, UNICEF Office for Croatia.

In addition to the workshop leaders, "Growing Up Together" activists, members of the Roma national minority have also been included in the implementation of the program. They help parents and children and actively participate in workshops - both for parents and for children. Also, the School of Animated Film was included in the workshops, so the materials are much more picturesque, easier to follow and more suitable for the population they are intended for.

“The development of a new program for Roma parents was initiated because each group of parents has specific interests and needs, and so we concluded that this population requires a different approach than some other groups of parents. All parents have the right to support from society in their parental role”, explains Eleonora Glavina, member of the Board of the Center for Parenting Support Growing Up Together.

“I supported the parents through all these workshops. I was always with them and as far as I could see, the parents were very happy with it, they even told me that they learned a lot and that it is now easier for them to deal with the children. The moms are very happy and they told me that it would be good if the workshops could be repeated because they are really important to them. I speak on behalf of mothers who are very grateful for these workshops”, says Krešo Balog, "Growing Up Together" activist, who is also a Roma minority assistant at school.

Center for Social Welfare Čakovec, Family Center Branch, is one of the implementing partners in the EU Child Guarantee program, and the role of their experts is the implementation of the Growing Up Together Plus workshops.

“In total, 7 cycles of workshops were held, in 7 Roma settlements, which was a very big challenge for us, because structured workshops were held with parents, but at the same time with their children. I think that this kind of program is welcome. I would also like to thank UNICEF and the Center for Parenting Support Growing Up Together for recognizing Medjimurje County as the one with a really large number of destitute and socially excluded citizens. The benefits of this program in working with Roma families are great, precisely because we entered Roma settlements, since they are socially isolated and coming to Čakovec represents a very big problem for them. The parents we included in the program were really motivated, they came to us regularly because the cycle lasts 4 months, which is a huge thing and makes me very happy. I am proud of the parents that they managed to set aside time every week and work on strengthening their parenting skills and of course - that they included their children, because we know that a large number of Roma children are not included in preschool education”, Lidija Vinković, director of the Family Center Branch of the Center for Social Welfare Čakovec proudly pointed out.

The evaluation of the results of the Growing up together plus is an extremely important step in its development in order to ensure, based on experience from the field, that the program is effective, responds to needs and ensures the involvement of parents and their work on desirable changes.

“The cycle of workshops in 7 Roma settlements has ended, the parents' questions were numerous because the word spread around the settlement that the workshops were very well organized and well run, and we have many questions from parents about when we will come again. I am sure that with the opening of the Play Hubs, the implementation of the program will be continuous and that every interested parent, including those recognized and referred by Center for Social Welfare, will be able to attend the workshops”, concluded Lidija Vinković.

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"Phase III: Testing the Child Guarantee" is funded by the European Union and is implemented in seven European Union countries to ensure access to basic services such as health care, education, quality nutrition, quality housing and care services for children growing up in the most difficult circumstances. The Republic of Croatia was given the opportunity to model the EU Child Guarantee in cooperation with the European Commission and UNICEF  to address child poverty and social exclusion. This pilot-programme is aimed primarily at children with disabilities, children living in a precarious family environment and children from national ethnic minorities. It is implemented in seven municipalities of Medjimurje County, and through cooperation and knowledge of implementing partners interventions are taking place in three areas: integrated child protection services and family support, early intervention services and access to quality preschool education.

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