State Agency for Child Protection celebrated its 15th anniversary with “The Child – National Priority” conference
On January 29, 2016, at the Central Military Club in the city of Sofia, a conference on the topic “The Child – National Priority”, dedicated to the achievements and challenges in developing a child protection system in Bulgaria in accordance with the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, was held. It was organized by the State Agency for Child Protection and the Institute for Public Policy as a part of a series of initiatives dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the State Agency for Child Protection.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Ivaylo Kalfin, the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria, Maya Manolova, the President Secretary on Social Policies, Youth and Sports, Asya Cholashka, took part in the conference “The Child – National Priority”, organized by the State Agency for Child Protection and dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the Agency establishment. The UNICEF Representative in Bulgaria, Maria Jesus Conde, representatives of the legislative, executive and local authorities, the civil sector, children, experts in children’s policies were also among the guests in the Ceremonial Hall of the Central Military Club.
The Chairperson of the State Agency for Child Protection, Eva Zhecheva, pointed out the main achievements and challenges of the system for child protection in her report “15 years of State Agency for Child Protection – 15 years of the child being in the focus of change”. The UNICEF Representative in Bulgaria, Mrs. Conde, presented on her side the mission of the UN children’s organization in Bulgaria. The Deputy Minister of Health, Vanyo Sharkov, spoke about the vision of the Ministry on guaranteeing an access to quality health care for the children in Bulgaria. The Deputy Minister of Justice, Verginiya Micheva, outlined the development of the juvenile justice system and the challenges it was facing.
Prof. Dr. Velina Todorova of the Bulgarian Academy of Science and Representative of Bulgaria at the Expert Committee of the Council of Europe commented on the children’s rights in Bulgaria after adopting the Law on Child Protection. The development of the system for child protection from the perspective of the civil society organizations working with children and their families was presented by Georgi Bogdanov, Executive Director of the National Network for Children. Valentina Simeonova, Leader of a project at New Bulgarian University, analyzed the process of changes in the institutional care for children in her presentation on the topic “Deinstitutionalization – a process of a continuing learning and reflection on the experience gained”. The new challenges and the crisis of the modern family were in the focus of the presentation of Dr. Vesela Banova, Therapeutic Director of Child and Space Association. Yoana Zaharieva, Vice Chairperson of the Children’s Council, outlined the role of children in the protection system.
On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the State Agency for Child Protection, its Chairperson, Eva Zhecheva, awarded honorary diplomas and plaques for special contributions to the development of the protection system and the protection of children's rights.