Every child should grow up in a family
UNICEF is calling on the Government of Montenegro to urgently ensure that every child grows up in a safe family environment
PODGORICA, 25 September 2023 – Montenegro became the first country in the region not to have any children under the age of 3 placed in residential institutions for social and child protection. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.
In light of this, UNICEF is reminding that, instead of being placed in institutions such as the Bijela Children’s Home, children without adequate parental care aged 0–3 should either grow up in foster families temporarily or be adopted if their return to their biological family is impossible.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Montenegro has ratified, every boy and girl has the right to grow up in a safe family environment, and it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that every child enjoys this right.
UNICEF is calling on the Government of Montenegro to urgently ensure that every child grows up in a safe family environment.
Research spanning more than 50 years shows that children placed in institutions in early childhood are exposed to a heightened risk of developmental delays – which can only be compensated for by care in a loving family environment.
This is why UNICEF is calling upon the government to ensure that no child under 3 is placed in an institution. The priority in the coming period should be to prevent the removal of children from their biological families and for the further development of foster care and adoption.
In this way, children will no longer be placed in institutions. Nurturing family environments must be provided immediately for children currently placed in such institution.
One of the criteria for Montenegro’s accession process to the European Union is that there should be no children under the age of 3 in institutions. The 2022 EU Progress Report for Montenegro calls on the state to accelerate the development of foster care and adoption services for every child without parental care.
Over the past few decades, UNICEF and the European Union have supported the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in comprehensively reforming the social and child protection system. The Law on Social and Child Protection prohibits the placement of children under the age of 3 in institutions, except in cases where it is a temporary, last resort.
Instead of placing children in institutions, the child and social protection system should provide intensive support to keep families in crisis together and prevent the separation of children from parents whenever possible.
When it becomes necessary to remove children from their biological families, placing them in foster families or facilitating adoption are the best possible solutions.
The TV commercial for the 'Every Child Needs a Family' campaign is available at: