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UNICEF and Serbian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy Are Developing a Comprehensive Support System for Children without Parental Care And Children with Disabilities

© UNICEF Serbia
Serbian Minister of Labour and Social Policy, H.E. Mr. Rasim Ljajic, and UNICEF Representative Judita Reichenberg signing the MoU

Belgrade, 30 April 2008 – The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of the Republic of Serbia and UNICEF signed today a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of parts of the Social Welfare System Reform Strategy related to children, focusing on deinstitutionalisation, decentralisation of services and protection of child rights.   

The fundamental principle on which this Memorandum is based is to promote social inclusion and respect of human rights of all citizens, particularly children’s, with a long-term goal to develop a comprehensive system of services and family support in the community that will contribute to significant reduction of the need for an institutionalised placement of children.

Specific goals of cooperation are defined in four program components:
- deinstitutionalisation and reform of institutions
- increase of the level of responsibility of staff in institutions
- inter-municipal planning of services for families at risk and families with children with disabilities
- specialised fostering

In 2007 around 2,000 children were placed in institutions in Serbia, including children without parental care and children with disabilities. Children in institutions do not receive adequate stimulation  necessary for their emotional and social development. It is scientifically proven that if children below   three years of age live in institution for a period longer than six months suffer negative developmental  for life.

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