In August, the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice presented a new Law to divert children from criminal proceedings and disciplinary measures.
The new Law aims at changing the philosophy of working with children at risk and children in conflict with the law.
National Network for Children advocates for a reform in the system for more than 15 years and welcomes the efforts of state institutions to repeal outdated law that leads to violation of children’s rights.
NNC draws attention to the current situation of children in 6 boarding schools in the country – Socio-educational boarding schools and Correctional boarding schools, and highlights the need of urgent measures for moving the children out of these closed institutions.
We need guarantees that the new law will not follow the old practices, but with new names, as it is likely to happen while preserving the role of the Ministry of Education in the management of new centers of educational supervision.
We insist on new working standards for the employees in the new educational support services, which replace local committees for fighting delinquency of minors.
The lack of professional standards for the staff and the lack of a common concept and methodology for working with children in conflict with the law are part of the fundamental systemic problems that lead to inappropriate actions or inaction of the institutions.
In this regard NNC sent a public inquiry to the responsible institutions which alerts about ongoing violence in the socio – educational boarding schools and lack of response by the responsible departments.
NNC recognizes that the finalization of the project with amendments is the first step in the long way which is to be gone until a reform in the system takes place.
In this relation, the Network for Children issued a special position which draws attention to the fundamental principles and regulations that must be met in the new Law changes.
These same principles are part of the international standards of juvenile justice, as described in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They are also the main starting point in the reforms set out in the Roadmap for implementation of updated strategy for continuing the judiciary reform.