The National Network for Children sent on March 19, 2015 to the Ministry of Justice its opinion on the draft of the updated roadmap for implementation of the concept of state policy in the field of justice for children and its annex.
We welcome the efforts of the Ministry of Justice for concrete actions towards real start of the reform in the field.
We believe, however, that the lack of consideration of changes in the above document in the past 2 years shows lack of political will for change in the area of justice for children, which in practice leads to lack of action.
The need to broaden the concept of a child at risk should be a priority given the present discussion in Parliament on the draft Law on pre-school and school education, which also makes links and references to the concept and the declared intention of the legislature to adopt the draft by June this year.
Besides specialization of judges, prosecutors and officials in the system of Ministry of Internal affairs we consider it is important a specialization of staff in the departments for child protection to be added in Objective 2 of the Roadmap.
We also think it is important to uniform rules and standards for sparing hearing of children to be created and adopted. There is an increase in construction of specialized facilities for hearing and questioning of children, especially for the witnesses and victims of violence. At the same time there is no unified philosophy and approach to their use, to ensure avoidance of further traumatizing of the child in the process of investigation and justice, protection of his rights and best interests and collection of complete and accurate information on a case to ensure effective implementation of justice mechanisms.
We insist that the document should include activity confirming the state’s commitment to close the social – pedagogic boarding schools and to reform homes for temporary accommodation of children and a clear plan on how it will happen in time.
Translator: Dimitrina Parashkevova, volounteer
Photo: front page flickr/iowa spirit woker and inner page freeimages.com/hadler