It's hard when the door closes behind you
Leaving institutional care: analysis of policies, institutional framework and practice
Children without parental care are particularly protected by a set of national and international norms until they reach the age of majority, that is, until they turn 18, and the state is obliged to provide to each one of them individually full legal, social, health care, emotional security, and to ensure their access to relevant educational, cultural, social, sports and recreational services, in a family like environment, while observing the best interest of the child. By the age of majority the state is obliged to ensure the best possible preparation for independent living, as well as certain support in the transition period. For the purpose of support during the transition period, youth who were children without parental care in Montenegro enjoy particular rights guaranteed by a set of laws in the area of social and child protection, as well as health care, but it proved to be insufficient in practice. In Montenegro, as well as in many other countries, financial independence of youth is delayed (see Ward 2008), i.e. it does not start with the age of majority, and the high youth unemployment rate1 contributes to this situation, as well as the inadequate financial support of the state during studies, thus youth rely significantly upon the support from their parents/ guardians. Having in mind that the necessary support in the transition period should not be reduced to financial support only, the limited spectrum of services available to youth who were in formal care as children without parental care puts this category in an unequal position with the general youth population.