Over 60 social welfare professionals participated in the first round table for development of the Law on Social and Child Protection, that was held on Friday, 20 May 2011 in Podgorica.
The round table was hosted by the Government of Montenegro – the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and UNICEF, with financial support from the European Union within the project „The Social Welfare and Child Care System Reform: Enhancing Social Inclusion”.
The purpose of the first round table was to acquaint participants with the draft of the proposed structure of the Law on Social and Child Protection, and to present international standards in the area of child protection, as well as comparative experiences and financial aspects in development of the new Law.
“Preparation of the new Law on Social and Child Protection will certainly contribute to the protection of the most vulnerable groups as well as to the creation of an institutional framework and capacity for further implementation of the reform process”, said Suad Numanovic, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, pointing out that the development of the new Law on Social and Child Protection and its harmonization with relevant international standards is one of the main activities of the Project.
Minister Numanovic also stated that the new legal text should respond to the needs of the citizens, contribute to the development of quality in social and child protection, and enable diversity and access to services particularly at the local level.
“UNICEF believes the new Law should and will acknowledge that the family is the natural environment for development and well-being of children and that it will clearly define institutional placement only as a measure of last resort, to be applied when it is in the best interest of the child and only temporarily”, said Nela Krnic, UNICEF Montenegro Child Protection Officer She added that UNICEF also hopes that “the new Law will serve as a basis for development of a family and community based alternatives to institutionalization, with special emphasis on development of kinship care and fostering”.
Recognizing the importance of development of the Law on Social and Child Protection in Montenegro’s path to EU integration, The Head of Operations Section in the European Union Delegation to Montenegro, Nicola Bertolini underscored that “while alignment with the Acquis is a necessary, it is not sufficient condition to meet the obligations of EU membership. Montenegro must also take all necessary measures to create the necessary implementing structures, to bring its administrative capacities to the required level and to ensure effective enforcement”.
Revision of the Law on Social and Child Protection is part of the Project „The 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 with technical assistance of UNICEF, UNDP and with financial support from the European Union in the amount of 3 million Euros.