On December 22, 2023, Prime Minister Academician Nikolay Denkov organiсed a meeting on the country’s demographic policy in the Council of Ministers (MC). Representatives of 6 ministries, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Economic and Social Council, the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, of the National Statistical Institute, the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as non-governmental organiсations, including Antoaneta Ivanova and Maria Brestnichka from the National Network for Children.
The Ministry of Justice requests that a targeted approach be sought and that strategies be moved to plans with deadlines and a budget. A plan to deal with the demographic crisis will be drawn up and should be ready in the next six months. We asked the National Network for Children to include in this plan the 60 priority measures that we want to see in the Vision for Family Policy 2030 , and also to take into account the results of the analysis made by the NMD on the financial investments of the Bulgarian state in the children .
Currently, 4 out of 5 households in Bulgaria have no children. Just over 30,000, or approximately 3% of all families in Bulgaria have three or more children. At first glance, the share is insignificant, but in reality 23% of the children in Bulgaria live in these families. Almost every fourth child. The data are from NSI .
From the National Network for Children, we believe that without a family support policy, we cannot talk about demographic policy. We need a comprehensive family policy in the steps to deal with the demographic crisis. Overcoming it does not consist only in birth rates and growth, but also requires a clear overall vision of how Bulgaria can be a good place to give birth and care for children and a country where families feel supported to raise their children, regardless of their number in the family.
We need a working system for maternal and child health care, places and care in quality education, benefits, tax breaks, social assistance that goes hand in hand with social support – real measures that are felt by children and parents. We need not only places, but also good care in nurseries and kindergartens. A treatment that does not rely on donation drives. And most of all – trust in parents that there is a place to find support when they need it. Because currently 2/3 of parents report systemic problems with their children, and 89% share that they have ever had a problem, but only 5-6% can name a specific organization or institution that helps children and families – a place where to seek assistance.
We will insist on this vision of ours in the coming months of preparation of a plan to deal with the demographic crisis by the Council of Ministers and the involved parties.
Photo: Council of Ministers