Today, on the presentation of the “Notebook 2018” report, prepared by the National Network for children, it became clear that the average assessment of the country for its efforts towards early childhood development, is 3.5. That was announced by Vanya Kaneva, team leader Advocacy and Projects of “For Our Children” Foundation and author of the research document section, dedicated to the early childhood development. Besides this area, Kaneva also presented the results on the topics “Child Health” and “Education”.
“The Notebook” carries out an annual monitoring of the commitments made by the institutions, concerning children’s rights. It is being developed by experts in relevant fields and for a third consecutive year it includes the opinion of hundreds of children, young people, parents and professionals. This year’s leading topic is the rights of the children with disabilities and chronic illnesses, and another 8 key topics, which are being considered in order to fully cover the children’s rights, are the child welfare, protection of all of the forms of violence, early childhood development, child health, education, family environment and alternative care, child justice and child participation. The report also includes recommendations that would improve the existing policies and practices.
The assessment of the efforts of the country, related to the early childhood development, was introduced as a separate part of the report in the preparation of its past edition. This is due to the recognition of importance and the bringing of the early childhood development in the foreground, as a priority by the Bulgarian state institutions, including the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Although in 2018 was taken an action to develop a National Strategy for Early Childhood Development, by accepting which are expected the problems in the three areas – health, education and social, to be addressed and to regulate the interaction between them, the report makes clear that the provision of universal and integrated services for early childhood development is insufficient. The challenges are the lack of coordination between the different systems, family-oriented approach and support for parents, the absence of policy for the leisure time and cultural activities of the children, the lack of adequate policies and measures, targeting the children with disabilities and development difficulties.
Among the main recommendations of the experts in the area are the accepting of the Strategy for Early Childhood Development and its recognizing as a broad platform for joint actions between all of the institutions, introduction of patronage care, introduction in the legal framework of the World Health Organization’s 2016 recommendations for tracking the pregnancy, introduction in practice of the unite standards for the early childhood development, changing the approach in the care for children in the kindergartens, ensuring the sustainability of the early childhood development and expanding the network of services for early childhood intervention.
The assessment in the field of “Family Environment and Alternative Care” has risen from 2.53 to 3.5. This is mainly due to the fact that the closure of specialized institutions for children continues and in 2018 the placement of children without disabilities until the age of 3, was officially suspended in the Homes for Medical and Social Care for Children. During the year, it is actively working on two new major projects – The Social Services Act and the Disability Act. Some regulatory changes were made in order to expand and develop the social services provided in the community.
The highest rating experts give to the state’s efforts in terms of education – 4.00, and the lowest – for the successes in the field of “Justice for Children” – 2.5, which is also the lowest from the first edition of the report until now (in 2012 it is 3.56).
“The Notebook” is going to be sent to the state institutions and meetings are about to be initiated, during which the recommendations of the report would be addressed to the decision-makers at political level.