The key factors in the fight against poverty are employment of parents and quality family support
UNICEF young reporters ask: How to reduce child poverty in Montenegro?
PODGORICA, 8 JANUARY 2021 – How to reduce child poverty in Montenegro? – was a question posed by UNICEF young reporters to the Ombudsman, academia and civil society to encourage greater support for children affected by poverty.
In addition to quality education for every child as a requirement to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, the interlocutors identified employment of parents and the provision of greater support to parents in order to care for their children as key interventions.
When it comes to the fight against child poverty, I see two possible lines of action: the first line is to empower the parents of children at risk of poverty to become actively involved in the labour market and to provide them with better-paid jobs; and the second type of fight against child poverty that I see is to give these children certain benefits in the form of financial benefits or bursaries.
This view is shared by the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms of Montenegro, Siniša Bjeković.
I would say that this process needs to be conducted on two levels: one level involves activities directly for children and I consider it necessary to ensure access to education under equal conditions; the second level, in my opinion, concerns the family in which the child lives, which means that the family must be strengthened in both social and economic terms by providing incentives for employment and thereby preventing further unemployment.
For Savo Knežević, President of the National Association of Parents of Children and Young People with Disabilities of Montenegro (NARDOS), one of the key problems is the employment of parents of children and young people with disabilities. Due to the 24-hour care that parents provide to these children, it is extremely difficult for them to find an adequate job so that they can work, take care of the children and contribute to the family when it comes to income. Therefore, social assistance for these families is extremely important, as well as support services for parents to adequately care for children with disabilities.
Those social benefits could be even better and much higher because the costs, especially when caring for a child with disabilities, are very high. Also, further development of social services is necessary, such as the day-care centres developed in Montenegro and numerous services provided by the non-governmental sector when it comes to children and young people with disabilities. It is necessary to involve state institutions in an even better way.
Every third child in Montenegro is at risk of poverty, and this number is expected to increase due to the coronavirus crisis. Although this crisis has significantly affected all children, it is precisely those children who were growing up in poverty beforehand who are most affected, which means that they should be given priority when it comes to support measures.