The institutions in Bulgaria received annual score AVERAGE (3) for 2011 regarding their commitments to children and families. This was announced during the launch of the National Network for Children “School report 2012: Assessment of the state commitments to children in Bulgaria” (you can download the full text from here).
The expert team who developed the first of its kind report in Bulgaria has analyzed 44 promises of the institutions in 5 key areas. Similarly to the students’ school reports, the state institutions received assessments of their work on the commitments in the spheres “Children’s rights”, “Family environment and alternative care”, “Children’s health”, “Education” and “Child justice”.
„In the life of the student, the school report is a measure about his performance in school as well as acquainting the parents whether their children cope with the school material. This is also the aim of our SCHOOL REPORT – to give clear and realistic picture about the direction of policies for children and whether we, the adults, keep our own promises listed in a number of strategic documents”, explained Georgi Bogdanov, executive director of the National Children’s Network. „Such a comprehensive assessment of the policies for children development is done for the first time in Bulgaria and our ambition is to present similar report every year”.
The lowest scores (3) were received for the fulfillment of the promises in the children’s rights sphere, education and health. This is due to the lack of progress on main problems such as lack of independent body which to guarantee children’s rights, dropping out of school and the high child mortality in some regions of the country.
Slightly higher (3+) is the assessment in the sphere “Family environment and alternative care”. This is mainly due to the government efforts on deinstitutionalization which however are not enough to increase the overall score bearing in mind the deepening child poverty (46% from the children in Bulgaria according to the latest research of Eurostat) and the lack of real services supporting families.
The best development is recorded in the child justice sphere (4) for the approval of „Concept for reform of child justice” and the ratification of the „Lazarote convention”. Despite this, the experts consider that the judicial system still doesn’t protect good enough the rights of the children, the courts bodies don’t have the necessary qualification for working with children and that children in conflict with the law continue to be considered as criminals rather than in need of protection and support.
The authors’ team who worked on the SCHOOL REPORT includes some of the most prominent Bulgarian experts in the family, health and educational policies as well as children’s justice and children’s rights. However, in order to guarantee complete independence and transparency in the assessment process, the authors of the report’s texts were not allowed to put scores. The scores were put by external assessment panel which comprised well known and respected specialists in the different spheres.