Press Advisories

2. 6. 2007 11:30

Government Wants to Change and Integrate Child Care System

The Government today unveiled its package of measures aimed at improving the rights of children and integrating the individual institutions involved in child protection. Accent is to be placed on the family, whether original or substitute.

Addressing a press conference marking International Children’s Day, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has said that the purpose of the prepared changes is to unify today’s fragmented system of child protection and to prevent repetition of cases which have been lately filling the pages of Czech newspapers.

Lively discussions on the right of children have been stirred up by the case of battered Ondøej and lost Anièka from Kuøim near Brno. Emotional reactions were also caused by the dispute between the Portuguese father and Czech mother of six-year old Sara Barao.

Czech Justice Minister Jiøí Posíšil has already prepared an amendment which is to introduce a swifter and more flexible set of rules for a situation when one of the parents kidnaps a child to another state. Later this month his Ministry is prepared to send out to the Czech Embassies throughout the world and to the local registries booklets informing people entering mixed marriages about the issues of child kidnapping. Under preparation is a new legislation to prevent the publication of information on child victims of criminal offences.

Czech Education Minister Dana Kuchtová believes that the case of the battered Ondøej, who was educated at home, has revealed some of the gaps in the law on home education. That is why Dana Kuchotvá wants to tighten up the conditions for individual education in the families. At present, pupils are tested once in six months, but Kuchtová suggests headmasters should be allowed to set the date for such checks as need be.

“The system of child protection is obsolete, based on collective education and re-education,“ declared Džamila Stehlíková, Czech Minister without Portfolio. That is why the Government is preparing a comprehensive transformation of the system of socio-economic protection of children. According to the Minister, its goal will be to return as many children as possible from institutional care to their original families or place them in foster families. The reform is expected to reduce the number of places in child care institutes. The Czech Republic has roughly 20,000 children in institutional care, one of the highest figures in an international comparison.

Premier Mirek Topolánek has said that the prepared National Bureau for Employment and Social Administration is also expected to improve child protection. The institution is to secure integrated activities of social workers, teachers, medical specialists, judges and other professionals dealing with children. The Bureau should launch its activities at the beginning of 2009.

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