Transforming the Montenegrin child care system so that children living with disability can stay in a loving and nurturing environment rather than an institution requires re-skilling of key professionals who can provide support to children and their families. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, with UNICEF and the EU support, enabled training of all employees of the Day Care Centre in Pljevlja on how to work with children with disabilities in a day care setting.
Sessions covered a wide range of issues, including understanding of disability, values and principles of day care centres, the specificities of day care centres in Montenegro, code of ethics, and cooperation with parents.
“The training that is carried out in Pljevlja is, for us, staff at the Day Centre Pljevlja, certainly an important basis for our future work. One of the trainers at the seminar is a psychologist – which is my vocation. I will apply and strive to apply in the best possible manner all the knowledge, guidelines and experience from this seminar in my work with children in the Day Care Centre,” said Azra Hamzic, Psychologist at the Day Care Centre Pljevlja.
“Training of experts to work in the Day Centre is very important and significant because our professionals will acquire new knowledge that they will use to create individual plans and programs for each child, by focusing on the preserved abilities of each child and by trying to offer them attention and love so they feel happy and satisfied in the Day Care Centre,” said Svetlana Dujovic, Day Care centre Director.
Participants learning how to work with children with disabilities in a day care setting Article 23 of the UNCRC refers to the rights of children with disabilities guaranteeing them the right to special care, education and training to help them enjoy a full and decent life in dignity and achieve the greatest degree of self-reliance and social integration possible.
‘’I am very happy and satisfied about the opening of the Day Care Center because my child and not only mine but all children with severe intellectual disabilities will be there and socialize with his peers. What is very important to me is that my son will acquire work habits, and, despite having severe disabilities, he can still know that he needs to go somewhere, to have obligations and, simply, to create some rhythm in his life and become a member of society as much as all the others without a disability,’’ said Sehada Osmankadic, one of the parents whose son will be attending the Day Care Centre.
At the moment, children with disabilities in Bijelo Polje, Niksic, Herceg Novi and Pljevlja benefit from the Day Care Centre services and thanks to the reform of the child protection system in Montenegro, children in other municipalities will also have the same opportunities in the near future.
‘’The best environment for children is within a family where they have loving and supportive and caring environment, and no acceptation should be made for the children with disability. Day care centres are good alternatives to institutions because they provide educational, supportive therapy to children during the day time, but in the evenings they can go back to their family, where they belong,’’ said Benjamin Perks, UNICEF Representative in Montenegro.
Support to the establishment of the Day Care Centre in Pljevlja is provided through the Instrument for Pre-Accession 2010 Project “Social Welfare and Child Care System Reform: Enhancing Social Inclusion”, implemented by the Government of Montenegro: the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Education and Sports, with technical assistance of UNICEF and UNDP and with financial support of the European Union.