The National Network for Children in partnership with other 170 non-government organizations sent on June 3rd, 2013 an open letter to the Government, the Parliament, the Ombudsman, the political parties and the media, regarding the plan for transfering the State Agency for Child Protection (SACP) to the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS).
The NGOs openly declared their disagreement on this project which is not supported by indispensable analysis, arguments and public discussion. The subject of child policy and children rights requires complex integral policy and resolution of current urgent matters such as: child poverty, support of children and families at risk, development of the process of deinstitutionalization and introduction of standards for early child development, among others.
The SACP was created in 2000, in order to overcome the lack of coordination in child care in Bulgaria, to control and coordinate the activity of all institutions for child protection. According to the initial idea and the law, the SACP should be an over administrative institution which manages, coordinates and controls the execution of child protection policy, although currently it is under the financial dependence of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MLSP).
The final recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in its second periodical report for Bulgaria (CRC/C/BGR/2) in 2008 are also at the same direction.
An appropriate mandate for “management, control and coordination in the field of child protection could not be carried out under the framework of a ministry which is an institution” (art. 17 of Child Protection Act), creating and applying child protection policy. This could position the Agency in conflict of interests. In this context the SACP has no place in the structure of any ministry and its mandate for the execution of independent monitoring should be strengthen.
The project for this transfer also contradicts to a number of strategic documents and the national policy so far.
The SACP’s role and function should be regarded as part of an integrated concept to reform the institutions, responsible for children and families. This reform requires sufficient time and sources for analysis, profound appraisal of the different options and large social discussion.
In line with all the arguments above, the Government should not take precipitated decisions which do not influence the effectiveness of children and families policy.
The NGOs organized a press conference on June 6th, 2013, to tell about their concerns regarding this project. It received a large media reaction.
At the Public Council of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy on June 7th, 2013, Minister Hasan Ademov declared that SACP will not be transferred prior of opening of a large social discussion.