The eighth edition of the annual monitoring report of the National Network for Children “Report Card 2019: What is the average government score for childcare?“ was presented on April 23 in Sofia and in seven other cities in the country.
The report is produced by the National Network for Children – an umbrella organization uniting 152 civic organizations across the country working for and with children and families. It reviews basic policies aimed at the well-being of children in Bulgaria. The authors are 30 experts who work on a daily basis directly with children and families across Bulgaria.
For the third consecutive year, the report also includes the views of over 460 children, young people, parents and professionals. The aim is to understand the life of children, their parents and the way professionals who support them – teachers, health and social workers, and others – are doing. Thus, together with the expert point of view, the impressions, attitudes and expectations of ordinary people are displayed. Without claims of representativeness and completeness, at the end of 2018 and early 2019, participants in 31 focus groups and online surveys shared facts about their lives and opinions on public health, education, justice and family services. This year, the two reports – the one with the experts’ assessments and the one with the opinions of the children, parents and professionals – are presented in a single booklet. It also includes authentic views of children, collected through surveys conducted by young people at the National Eurochild Forum – Bulgaria (NEF) and by children in the Youth Megaphone Network.
For the first time in 2019, the Report Card has a new format and model in presenting progress in child policies. The selected topics and the sub-topics seek to fully embrace the rights of the child and to evaluate all aspects of child well-being.
Guaranteeing children’s rights is presented in 8 key topics:
- Child welfare
- Protection from all forms of violence
- Early childhood development
- Children’s health
- Family environment and alternative care
- Justice for children
- Children’s participation.
Report Card 2019 marks a slight improvement in childcare, which is also reflected in the higher overall score of the state institutions. This year the score is Average 3.31 with a maximum score of 6.00 (as children in Bulgarian schools are rated). This is the highest estimate so far in the eight years in which the report has been produced, although growth is minimal.
“Despite the upward result, the overall assessment is still Medium and progress is unsatisfactory, which is largely due to the uncoordinated efforts of the institutions and absence of a unified family oriented policies,” commented George Bogdanov, Executive Director of the National network for children. “In 2018, most of the changes that have taken place was made under the pressure of parent organizations and civil society structures. That is why, in Report Card 2019, we highlight the situation with guaranteeing the rights of children with disabilities as a leading topic”, Bogdanov added.
Last year, the state received the lowest mark since the report was drafted – Average 2.88.
The presentation of the report was made simultaneously in Sofia and in seven other cities with the participation of organizations, part of the Network for Children and representatives of institutions, local authorities, parent groups and the media.
During the event, a video was presented featuring the comments of children from the Megaphone Youth Network who made recommendations to the Ministers of Health, Education, Justice and Labor and Social Policy. They also wrote personal messages to ministers in true Student Books. These child-filled notebooks will be handed over to the relevant ministers with whom the National Network for Children requested meetings to submit the 2019 Report Card.
You can download the English version of Report Card from here – Report Card 2019 English version (PDF, 4.6 MB)