The draft “Vision for Family Policy in Support of Children and Families in Bulgaria” was discussed at a round table in the National Assembly. The forum was organized on 1 April 2016 by the parliamentary Education and Science Committee and the National Network for Children.
The topic of the forum is important as it not only affects every citizen but appears to be a clear indicator of the maturity of a society, noted at the opening the Chairperson of the National Assembly, Tsetska Tsacheva. The design of a draft “Vision for Family Policy in Support of Children and Families in Bulgaria” is a step forward and its specific outcome would result in legislative initiatives, said she.
The Chairperson of the National Assembly said that the draft correctly reviews the effective legal framework regulating the support of families and children. This confirms that the topic is on the agenda of the legislative institution and relevant ministries, which is good, but it is not a good fact that 90 per cent of surveyed parents state that this regulation is not sufficiently integrated, which inhibits not only parents but also those who deal with the issue professionally, noted Tsetska Tsacheva. She expressed her hope that legislative initiatives would follow the discussion of the draft and probably an effort could be made for codification of all current policies implemented in regard to children and families in Bulgaria.
The chairperson of the Education and Science Committee, Milena Damyanova, said that it is important to have an overall vision and an integrated policy and overall approach to their implementation when making reforms. It is an honour and privilege for the 43rd National Assembly to carry out these reforms, which are intended to support the well-being of children, ensure equal and quality education and a chance for better life to all children in Bulgaria, added she.
Milena Damyanova stated that in the last year the Education and Science Committee was able to present for plenary deliberation an entirely new draft school and pre-school act. The main goal of the act is to bring up knowledgeable, thinking, literate, creative, critical Bulgarian children and youths, with successful personal and career development, said she, and added that the reform in this field aims to address educational differences among children.
It is important to have not only policies focused on the child, but to have quality policies in support of the family, and that they are linked in an integrated vision for support of children and families, reads the welcome address of the Chairperson of the Interaction with Non-Governmental Organisations and Citizens’ Complaints Committee, Boyka Marinska, to the participants in the forum. She expressed the belief that the discussion will trigger actual steps towards an integrated policy in support of children and families in Bulgaria.
The Deputy Ombudsman, Diana Kovacheva, noted that protection of the child rights is a priority set out by the Ombudsman for 2016. This year, the efforts of the institution will be focused on various possible approaches to ensure a better life to the child and observance of his/her rights, said she. The opinion of the institutions and the non-governmental sector that the rights of the children are a central focus in the family policy is proved by today’s forum, added she.
The Chairperson of the State Agency for Child Protection, Eva Zhecheva, noted that the designed vision for family policy in support of children and families in Bulgaria is part of the common efforts of the legislative branch, the executive branch and non-governmental organisations for improved care for children and families in the country. In her view, the draft should be a reference point for the design of a concept of family policy in Bulgaria.
The Chairperson of the Management Board of the National Network for Children, Vesela Banova, presented the objectives of the draft “Vision for Family Policy in Support of Children and Families in Bulgaria” to the participants in the forum. The programme director of the organization, Dani Koleva, acquainted the participants with a draft family policy vision.
Representatives of the legislative branch, the executive branch and local administrations, the academic community, non-governmental organisations, parents and experts took part in the round table.