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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

The First Meeting of Working Group on Early Childhood Development

The first meeting of the Working Group on Early Childhood Development of the Children’s Rights Council of the Government of the Republic of Serbia was held on 15 October 2018 in Belgrade. The Working Group was established by the Council’s decision of 1 March 2018 in order to coordinate policies at the national level.

The Working Group on Early Childhood Development is chaired by Anamarija Viček, State Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development. The Working Group has eight members. In addition to representatives from relevant ministries in the Children’s Rights Council, one of the permanent members is Jasmina Miković from Praxis, MODS Management Board President. Saša Stefanović, MODS Director and Jasmina Miković participated in the first meeting of the Working Group as MODS representatives. 

The first meeting was dedicated to strategic priorities in the field of early childhood development and the method of implementing the Call for Action - Joint Message from the Ministers of the Government of the Republic of Serbia - Support to Children in Early Childhood and Their Families. The possibilities of improving the coordination of the activities of different ministries and other players in the field of early development were also discussed.

In the following period, the Working Group will work to initiate measures for the development of a comprehensive and coherent early childhood policy, including the integration of early childhood support policies in the National Action Plan for Children, as well as to define recommendations for achieving important social indicators in the area of early childhood support.

Why a special body of the Children's Rights Council was established to deal with early childhood development?

Early childhood development is one of the priorities of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, recognised in the key national and international documents such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Employment and Social Policy Reform Programme, the Action Plan for Chapter 23 and the Common European Guidelines on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care. 

Considering the importance of this developmental period for all individuals as well as the fact that every child has the right to a full realisation of his or her potential, it is necessary to systematically provide holistic and complete support to children and their families. In order to achieve this, mechanisms at the national and local levels should facilitate the coordination of programmes and services. The existing legislative and strategic framework for supporting children in different sectors (health, education, social protection) needs to be consolidated, supplemented and its implementation should be ensured through adequate funding.

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