Bulgaria: serious violation of children’s rights in Social-Pedagogical Boarding Schools

Photography credits: Giorgio Comai

Source: The National Network for Children, Bulgaria

The National Network for Children sent on February 6th, 2014 an open letter to institutions in charge to express its strong concerns regarding the current situation of children, placed in social-pedagogical boarding schools (SPS).

Approximately 100 children live in the social-pedagogical boarding schools in the villages of Straldhza, Dragodanovo and Varnentsi where the living conditions are inappropriate and violence among children is not rare.

Experts evaluations show unacceptable neglect of children’s health such as lack of therapy for mentally ill children and adequate medical care for underage pregnant girls. Most of the possessions in the boarding schools are common, children have no privacy and their freedoms of choice and opinion are unconsidered.

The outdated legislation and the conflicting legal regulations result in random transfer of responsibilities between the institutions represented by the Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, which includes the Social Assistance Agency and the Departments for Child Protection.

The National Network for Children insists on taking urgent measures to ensure the  improvement of the living conditions and activities of children currently placed in boarding facilities.

Necessary changes are to be made concerning the rules which regulate the institutional coordination and to ensure the adoption of protection measures in cases of abuse of children placed in social-pedagogical boarding schools (SPS) and correctional boarding schools (CBS).

Non-government organization insists on the renewal of the overall reform of justice system for children, including boarding schools status and activities as well as the cancellation of the Law on Combating Antisocial Behaviour of Minors and Adolescents (LCABMA) and  adoption of special law on child and youth justice.