Thursday, 28 February 2019

Horror: Father Throws Four Children from the First Floor

ZAGREB, February 28, 2019 - Of the four children, who were thrown from the first floor of their house on the island of Pag by their father, three are severely injured and the fourth child -- a seven-year old girl -- has been hooked to a mechanical ventilator at the intensive care unit of the Zadar Hospital, the girl's doctors told the press, adding that they would consider transporting her to Zagreb once her condition stabilised.

The 54-year-old man early on Thursday morning threw his four children, aged 3,5,7 and 8, from the first floor of their house on the Pag island. Two girls are in the intensive care unit and the other two children are in surgery.

"The condition of the seven-year-old girl is the most severe. She has numerous head and chest injuries so we had to put her on a mechanical ventilator. The child is not yet stable and we are in contact with the Health Ministry," the head of the Intensive Care Unit, Edi Karuc, said.

He said that the girl's eight-year old sister, who is also in the intensive care unit, is conscious and stable.

Demography, Youth and Social Policy Minister Nada Murganić will travel to Pag to get more information on this case of domestic violence.

The minister said that she would hold a news conference once she collected all information.

Early on Thursday morning, the Zadar police reported about this incident which shocked the country. A police investigation is under way.

More news about the children issues can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Allowance for Second Half of Maternity Leave to Increase

ZAGREB, February 10, 2019 - The Assistant Minister of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy, Ivica Bošnjak, said on Saturday that one of the measures of the Strategy for Democratic Revitalisation was to increase the amount of the parental allowance for the second half of maternity leave, but did not confirm that it would be in the full amount of parents' monthly wages.

Speaking to the press after the Jutarnji List daily of Saturday wrote that the Strategy for Democratic Revitalisation, which is under preparation, envisaged a higher parental allowance and that it would be paid in the full amount for the other six months as well, Bošnjak said that the Strategy would be finalised in April and that it was likely be put to public consultation in May or June.

"We are dedicated to improving the conditions, we are going in that direction," he said when asked by a reporter if the parental allowance would be paid in the full amount of the parents' wages for all 12 months. Currently it is paid in full only for the first six months of maternity leave.

Bošnjak dismissed the speculation that this measure was planned for next year because it was an election year, recalling that parental allowances had been increased by 50 percent in mid-2017 after a full nine years and children's allowances after a full eleven years.

He noted that the new Strategy was being drawn up after 13 years and that considerable investments had been made in kindergartens this year and last for the first time in 18 years. "Never before has central government made such investments. This is considerable progress and this measure is just one in a set of measures that will help improve the family environment."

Bošnjak said that Croatia would implement the EU directive that requires the introduction of paid paternity leave of 10 days after the birth of a child. He added that it was yet to be seen whether the implementation would start next year or after 2020 and whether such leave would be paid by the employer or the government.

More news on the demographic policies can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Foster Care Bill Causes Rift among Ruling Coalition Partners

ZAGREB, November 23, 2018 - The Minister of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy, Nada Murganić, said on Friday that the fact that the parliament's committee on family, youth and sports had taken the foster care bill off its agenda, as requested by the Croatian People's Party (HNS), did not mean that the bill had been withdrawn, and added that MPs evidently needed to hold additional consultations on the matter and were entitled to it.

"The final bill was forwarded to the parliament for consideration after it was unanimously endorsed by the government. Government ministers from the HNS quota voted for that bill. MPs evidently need to hold additional consultations and they are entitled to it... I don't see any problem with that," Murganić told reporters outside the government offices, where an agreement on the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence was to be signed.

She recalled that the HNS had supported the bill when it was in first reading and that the bill had secured majority support, as well as that Social Democrat MP Arsen Bauk's proposal that life partners, too, be recognised as potential foster carers was not supported. "But our MPs have a wide range of options during parliamentary debates," she said.

Asked if she considered it acceptable that life partners should have the right to provide foster care, Murganić said that she appreciated procedures for the adoption of laws and that she had never imposed her views.

The HNS, a junior partner in the coalition government, has asked that the foster care bill be taken off the agenda of the parliament's committee on family, youth and sports due to the need for additional consultations with the coalition partners and its possible amendment. "As a liberal party, the HNS strongly supports the rights of same-sex unions, gender equality, equality of all citizens and individual freedoms, and opposes any form of discrimination," the party said in a reply to Hina's query.

It said that life partnerships were legally recognised in Croatia, and that their not being covered by the foster care bill raised the issue of the bill's compliance with the Constitution and the Act on the Prevention of Discrimination.

"We also have to bear the European practice in mind since the European Court of Human Rights has recognised the term family life for same-sex families, meaning that life partners can constitute a foster family. We will conduct intensive talks with our coalition partners on the matter, as well as on ways to improve the Foster Care Bill," the HNS said.

Murganić also told reporters that the agreement to be signed in the government was designed to set up a national team and county teams for the prevention and fight against violence against women and domestic violence.

"Such a national team existed in 2011 and we now want to establish a new one to step up inter-departmental cooperation to coordinate our activities and oversee the implementation of national as well as local policies," she said, adding that the team would be assisted by judges of the Supreme Court, magistrates' courts and the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor.

The new team will be set up to step up the implementation of the national strategy for preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence as well as the Council of Europe conventions on the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence, Murganić said.

For more on the family issues in Croatia, click here.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Children Adoption Issues in Focus

ZAGREB, November 11, 2018 - More than 3,000 Croatian children are currently in the alternative care system, 413 of them are fit for adoption while the number of potential adoptive families stands at 1,316, it was said at a conference organised by "Adopta", an association providing support to potential adopters.

Speakers at the conference spoke about problems and challenges encountered by people wishing to adopt or provide foster care.

Between the start of this year and the end of October, 85 children were adopted, while in 2017 there were 126 adoptions. More than 3,000 children are currently staying in foster families or children's homes. Of that number, only 413 meet formal conditions for adoption, while at the same time there are 1,316 potential adopters. "This shows that a family can be found for each of those children," said Adopta head Andreja Turčin.

Turčin said that better statistics in this regard required stepping up procedures to remove a child from parental custody, introducing incentives for adopting more than one child, notably in cases of children who are difficult to adopt, older children, children who are members of minority ethnic groups, or children with difficulties.

Turčin also called for the implementation of the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy adoption protocol from 2016. Under the protocol, for each child for whom a foster family is not found within a period of three months, social care centres are obliged to make an anonymous profile on a protected website. Currently there are only 40 such profiles.

On 31 October, the government sent to parliament a final bill on foster parenting which treats foster care as a job by foster parents who have been unemployed and also provides for specialised foster caring for children with special needs, so that carers in all those cases are properly remunerated.

The Demography, Family, Youth and Social Welfare Minister, Nada Murganić, said then that the bill had been prepared in a bid to improve the current unsatisfactory state of affairs in the field of foster parenting, given that there are not enough foster families and that they are unevenly distributed across the country. The new law enables the continuation of traditional and kinship care, too.

The measures envisaged in the new legislation are meant to improve the conditions of foster carers and to enable younger persons out of work to become foster carers.

The state budget allocations to be set aside for this purpose will be increased by an additional 15.5 million kuna. Thus, a total of 228.5 million kuna will be set aside for foster caring services, and of that amount 183 million kuna will go to children covered by this care and 45.5 million kuna as remuneration to carers.

The new legislation, aimed at encouraging foster parenthood, is designed to raise the number of foster parents and promote foster care for children with special needs.

For more on children’s issues in Croatia, click here.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Welfare Centre Buying "Uhljebs" 200 Euro Designer Shoes

It seems that some public services employees, also known as “uhljebs”, have their expensive shoe buying habits financed from the state budget.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Government Promises Istanbul Convention Implementation

ZAGREB, October 4, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday he expected the implementation of the Istanbul Convention, which went into force this week, to strengthen Croatia's institutional, operational and financial capabilities so that the highest standards could be achieved in fighting against domestic violence and violence against women.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Government and UNICEF Launch Foster Care Campaign

ZAGREB, August 28, 2018 - The Croatian Ministry of Demography, Family and Youth Affairs and Social Welfare and UNICEF, in cooperation with a civil society association that networks of foster parent organisations in Croatia, on Tuesday announced the launch of a campaign under the slogan "Every Child Needs a Family".

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Fathers Protest Against Discrimination after Divorce

ZAGREB, May 15, 2018 - On the occasion of the International Day of Families marked 15 May, the Croatian Association for Equality of Parenting organised a protest rally on Tuesday at St Mark's Square by fathers whose parental rights have been denied.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Budget Review to Increase Funds for Demography Ministry

ZAGREB, May 6, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced on Saturday a budget review after July 1 so that the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy could have more money to implement population measures.

Friday, 4 May 2018

No Social Welfare for Those Who Refuse Community Service

For now, the new rules will be in effect just in Bjelovar.

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