Inefficient working of the Centers for Social Welfare in a case of a 9-year-old child.
The First Children's Embassy in the World Megjashi has many times so far observed malfunction in the work of the Centers for Social Welfare and violation of children’s rights. The last case, which was reported on the SOS helpline for children and youth at the Children's Embassy Megjasi, again points out the lack of performance, the rigidity and the irresponsibility of the Centers for Social Welfare when acting for the best interest of the children.
Namely, we would like to discuss whether the promptness and efficiency in resolving such cases should depend on the engagement of civil organizations whose main responsibility is to protect the rights of the children. Is it perhaps that if it had not been for our efforts and commitments to act appropriately in this case, the fate of this child would have depended on the administrative procedures that could have lasted well over a year?
Namely, during 2011, we received an alert from an adult who wanted to inform us about the situation of a nine-year-old child. The parents of this child are divorced for a long time. The parent who does not have custody showed no desire to get in touch with his own child. At last, in 2010, he wanted to see the child for the first time, and with a mutual agreement of the parents, the child was supposed to spend a week with the other parent. After this time, the parent who was not a guardian decided that the child should live with him in future. Being unable to look after the child, because of his antisocial and promiscuous behavior, and because of his long-time drug addiction, he did not take care of the child for one whole year. The child was hungry and locked at home all the time and did not attend school for a whole year. During that time the child lived in a constant fear and was neglected and abused. His parents and relatives who had legal rights to look after him and protect him went to the Centers for Social Welfare and the Secretariat of Interior to take the child back with them and protect him. But their requests and reactions were not taken seriously. The school in which the child had been enrolled made efforts to inform the relevant Centers for Social Welfare and attempted to visit this home as to determine the reasons for not attending the school, but without any results. The parent was either not at home or refused to open the door. The Centers for Social Welfare, although informed that this child lives with a torturer, in their inability to determine which one of them is competent to act in this case, left this child unprotected for a whole year.
The First Children's Embassy in the World in writing addressed CSW-Gevgelija, CSW-Strumica, CSW-Skopje, and Secretariat of the Interior-Gevgelija, the Ombudsman, The Social Inspection at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and the State Educational Inspectorate. We received a reply from CSW-Gevgelija and later contacted them by telephone, and they informed us that they had sent a written request to the CSW-Strumica, CSW-Skopje, but did not receive any response. They were informed about the situation of the child and the behavior of the parent, but could not take concrete actions without the presence of the police because the person was considered violent.
The SI-Gevgelija informed us that they cannot take measures until they receive a resolution from the Centre for Social Welfare. We tried to contact CSW-Skopje and CSW-Strumica but they were not available.
During March 2011 CSW-Gevgelija contacted us by telephone to inform us that the child was taken from the abusive parent and given to the parent/relatives who have custody.
The inefficiency of the state institutions, their inability to establish the jurisdiction of the Centers for Social Welfare endangered the normal growth and development of this child. The basic children’s rights to education, health care, optimal growth and development were violated. The child is distressed and frightened by the violence and negligence to which it was exposed for a whole year. This child was left to fate for one year.
The First Children's Embassy in the World Megjasi stated inability of the Centers for Social Welfare to resolve a positive or negative jurisdiction, which causes inefficiency in their functioning, immobility and longevity in solving cases where an immediate action is necessary in order to protect the child and his best interests.
First Children's Embassy in the World demands:
- The State Institutions and the Centers for Social Welfare to act faster in determining the competencies. We believe that thus will be avoided obstruction of the administrative system and avoiding of the responsibility for the inefficient functioning.
- The Social Inspection at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy to have a greater insight into the work of the Centers for Social Welfare and discipline those who are responsible for the inefficient working.
- The Government of Republic of Macedonia to provide all necessary technical means as well as human resources and professional staff for professional and timely execution of their work.
- A selection during the process of employment to be made and the positions to be allocated in accordance with the expertise.
- Regular training and workshops for the professional staff to be introduced in order to up-train the existing staff.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva will receive these recommendations and information on the situation of the children’s rights in the Republic of Macedonia in the next report by The First Children's Embassy in the World Megjashi.