Minister Zaharieva: We Have Reduced the Number of Children in Institutions by 90%Society | September 26, 2019, Thursday // 12:25| views
"Bulgaria has reduced the number of children in institutions by 90 percent, and we plan to permanently close all homes for children with disabilities and for children from 4 to 7 years old," said Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, who opened an event on the deinstitutionalization of child care in New York, BGNES reported.
The meeting with activists from around the world on "Transforming child care: Delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Development," is organized as a side event at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
The event is hosted by Bulgaria, Jordan, the European Commission and the Lumos non-governmental organization founded by writer J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter books.
“Bulgaria relies on two principles in the reform of children at risk: all actions of the state should be directed solely in the interests of the child, not of parents, guardians or social services, and, secondly, the child itself should participate in the decision-making process for his future, ”, Minister Zaharieva said.
"The first step is always the most difficult, but today we can confidently say that by 2025 Bulgaria will have to impose complete deinstitutionalization in child care," the first Bulgarian diplomat said. She called on the participants in the event to have an honest and frank debate.
The participants of the forum were addressed by the Bulgarian two-time Olympic gold medalist for disabled people - 19-year-old Veliko Velikov. "The children should be in families, not in orphanages," he said. He graduated from an ordinary school despite his disability, and is now a social studies student.
In September 2015, the UN adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which included the measure that no child should be abandoned. Children in institutions run the risk of being raised in extreme poverty without access to education, parental care or family comfort.
The European Union, and in particular Bulgaria, supports the reform of child care, which involves moving children out of orphanages and raising them in a family or family-friendly environment. However, millions of children around the world still live in orphanages.