In September, at the height of the election campaign, National Network for Children held meetings with Bulgarian Socialist Party, GERB, Democratic Bulgaria and Continuing the change. Specific measures to improve the well-being of children in Bulgaria were discussed.
A key topic, that National Network for Children insists on, is that Bulgaria should have a responsible position and an institution for children and the overall support of the family. Although at the moment there is no party that is ready to engage in work on the subject, the representatives of all political forces agreed with this necessity.
Another topic on which the parties are united is the need for a clear strategy and plan for the welfare of children in Bulgaria, or the timely adoption of an adequate Strategy for the child.
There is an agreement regarding the reforms in the system for child protection and juvenile justice.
Another topic that we put forward and finds support among the majority of political parties is to expand access to nurseries, kindergartens, but also alternative services for early childhood development such as parent cooperatives and children’s centers.
As a specific focus, key themes for children and families were set at individual meetings.
At the meeting with Bulgarian Socialist Party, the implementation of the European Child Guarantee was discussed, which implies ensuring equal access to services and support for children living at risk of poverty, which are about one third of the children in Bulgaria.
The topic of early childhood development and poverty, but in a strategic plan, was also touched upon during the meeting with “Continuing the Change”. Together with the For Our Children Foundation, we raised the need for strategic documents to ensure that every child has access to adequate housing, healthy nutrition and early childhood development services.
The meeting with “Democratic Bulgaria” focused on the prevention of child criminalization and the reform of juvenile justice as part of the judicial reform. The extremely important issue of creating databases to solve key problems of lack of information was also touched upon – a eloquent example of this is the lack of data on children who have experienced violence, including the lack of data on the number of children who are victims of premeditated murder, which differ up to 15 times according to the data of different institutions.