UNICEF started psychosocial support for children and families in Sisak-Moslavina County

Mobile teams started with their activities

29 January 2021
Three psychologists in UNICEF t-shirts standing in the street
Mobile teams

Mobile teams composed of selected experts are starting with the activities of psychological support to children and families in Glina, Petrinja and Sisak, thanks to the collaboration between the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy and the Psychological Assistance Society, with support by UNICEF. During the initial phase of the programme, the mobile teams will prioritize their support to foster care families, especially those whose houses are damaged, and families at the greatest risk, included in different social welfare programs.

In addition, UNICEF has donated  10 notebooks to social welfare centers in Glina and Petrinja to ensure the continuity of their services to families.

There are 49 foster care families in Sisak-Moslavina County, with 32 currently living in the areas most affected by earthquakes. 125 children are cared for in foster care families in Sisak-Moslavina County, with 82 living in Sisak, Petrinja and Glina. In cooperation with social welfare centres, mobile teams will pay special attention to families who were already facing various risks before the earthquakes and are now experiencing more depravations and remain at risk of greater social and economic exclusion.

“Our experience as an organization completely devoted to children’s rights, particularly in times of emergencies shows that children are the most vulnerable in times of crises as parents, guardians, families and communities try to cope with hardship and despair. As UNICEF, we want to be there for the children and their families affected by the earthquakes and at no point in time, psychological support has been more needed to ensure that children and their families are able to express their feelings, find mechanisms for building resilience and restore some of the lost joy in their lives.  We trust that with the support from our donors and partners, we will be able to meet many of the short term as well as the long term needs of children”, said Regina M. Castillo, UNICEF CO Croatia Representative.

"In circumstances arising from natural disasters, such as the earthquake that hit central Croatia, it is important to provide psychosocial support to children and young people and their families to reduce their anxiety, fear and psychological suffering and help them regain not only physical but also psychological security. This is extremely important for the long-term well-being of children. Experiences from earthquake prone countries, such as Japan and Chile, have shown that children's anxiety symptoms increase significantly in the first months after such traumatic events. As many as 50 percent of children show various anxiety disorders after 6 months, and although most children gradually recover after an earthquake, 25 to 30 percent of them show chronic or prolonged symptoms of depression and / or anxiety. That is why it is extremely important to provide support to children and young people and strengthen parents and professionals to recognize situations and signs that show if child needs professional support for recovery. In doing so, special attention should be paid to children who usually grow up in difficult and unfavourable life circumstances", said Marina Ajduković, PhD, Society for Psychological Assistance and Study Center for Social Work, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb

In cooperation with partners in the field, UNICEF will organize child and adolescent-friendly spaces and venues to provide opportunities for play and psychosocial support for children in temporary settlements and shelters. Activities implemented in such specially organized places give children a sense of normalcy and opportunities for learning, playing and socializing. UNICEF will support the work of child and adolescent-friendly spaces by educating professionals in consultation with partners and delivering special kits with the necessary equipment used worldwide in order to quickly establish programs tailored to different age groups, while taking into account epidemiological measures.

Depending on the situation in the most affected areas, UNICEF will adjust its response to the crisis, considering specific long-term needs of children and families with children and support the efforts of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and local authorities in ensuring the continuation of child protection, quality education and health care services in the areas affected by the earthquakes.

Donations will help secure for children and families most affected by the earthquakes:

  • hygiene supplies and protective equipment
  • psychosocial support for children and parents
  • support to kindergartens and schools
  • support to health institutions and social service providers

 

Donations can be made at https://www.unicef.hr/help-children-affected-by-earthquakes/ or directly to UNICEF’s bank account:

HR1723600001501092524

Reference number: 2068-98

SWIFT: ZABAHR2X

Media contacts

Marin Ilej
Communication Officer
Tel: 099 3494 579

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF visit www.unicef.org