Child rights

Monday, 24 February 2014

What Are Elections Bringing to Children

Statement by the Network of Organisations for the Children of Serbia

The Network of Organisations for the Children of Serbia (MODS) calls on political parties to inform the public about their plans for children in Serbia.

Although it is said that the future belongs to children, children live in the present. How children will be formed as persons and how successful they will be depends on how they live today in Serbia, in what kind of environment they grow up and in what conditions they develop. Child care today has far-reaching and long-term consequences for society. By investing in children, we create the future of our society and what we fail to do today will be increasingly difficult to correct tomorrow.

We, therefore, ask the political parties this question:

What will you do after elections to ensure that parents receive appropriate support to allow all children to live in the family, to be included in education and to grow up in a safe environment in the 21st century?

Poor and single-parent families in Serbia are exposed to everyday stress in the struggle for existence, torn between the need to devote themselves to the child and to earn a living. In Serbia, children continue to be placed in institutions, separated from their families. In nearly 70% of cases, the main reason for separation of children from the family is the inability of parents to meet the needs of the child. Parents do not have adequate support and available services allowing their children to grow up in decent living conditions, safe environment, included in education.

A large burden is placed on local self-governments, which are closest to children and families, but unable to cope with many challenges – lacking sufficient budget funds and capacity for planning and providing appropriate support. Financial support provided by the state is insufficient. It is repeatedly stressed that there are not enough funds. On the other hand, there are funds from the budget of the Republic of Serbia, which are used to provide support to the most vulnerable population groups. It amounts to about 2.68 billion dinars (2013 budget) or about 24.4 million euros.

Do you have a plan how to use these resources better to provide families with children in Serbia with adequate support?

In addition, the system lacks sufficient capacity for spending EU funds according to "complicated" EU procedures (comparing ourselves with the systems of some EU member states, there is a concern that we may find ourselves unprepared in the Romanian scenario: for example, since 2007 Romania has used only 7% of the funds from the European Social Fund).

So the question is: Do you have a plan to do more and make better use of EU funds that will become available?

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