Source: Serbian Network of Civil Society Organizations for Children, MODS
On the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, MODS has publicly stated how negative the impact of poverty and social exclusion is on children, their development and their families.
The overall situation is pictured as following: (1) in the cases of poor families, every tenth child under the age of 5 is underdeveloped because of malnutrition – while among the wealthiest families this ratio is only one of thirty children; (2) coverage of kindergarten children aged 3 to 5 is more than three times smaller in the poorest families compared to the richest families – which impacts their educational development in primary school and in secondary school: only 62% of children enroll in secondary school, compared to 94% children from rich families.
Nonetheless, Serbia is not sufficiently allocating to support the poorest families and their children. The current situation is all the more difficult because there is no single policy that will meet the needs of the poor and socially excluded. Unfortunately, the existing resources are underutilized and their effect is diminished because they are fragmented and divided. In terms of European integration, the question is how much our country is ready for the withdrawal and use of funds from the EU, which we could use for the development of social services for the most vulnerable groups in society, including the children who are at most risk of poverty.
Far from being reduced, the number of poor children is growing every year, allowing poverty to be transferred from generation to generation. Therefore, it is the right moment for the Government of the Republic of Serbia to come up with a proposal of certain measures, for the beginning on how to better use the existing budgetary resources to support the poorest and how to use EU pre-accession funds to that purpose. Is it hard to find a winning formula and a mechanism for more effective use of existing resources and greater absorption of pre-accession funds to support children to grow up in their families and to less feel the consequences of poverty and crisis?