Unacceptable for 6 children to be surviving on their own: Ombudsman reacts to Alibunar story
Ombudsman Zoran Pasalic seeks urgent checks at the Alibunar welfare center
Citizens Ombudsman Zoran Pasalic has initiated the process of controlling the work of the Alibunar Social Welfare Center after he saw the media the story about six children living on their own in Kozjak, near the town of Alibunar, in extremely difficult conditions.
"Also, information has been requested from the (Vojvodina) Provincial Secretariat for Social Policy, Demography and Gender Equality about the measures and activities taken in the case of the abandoned children, which today distressed the citizens of Serbia," said the Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pasalic.
As Telegraf.rs has reported, six children between the ages of three and 15 live alone in a crumbling house, with the eldest working as a manual laborer and taking care of the household and the youngest children along with his sister.
Pasalic said that the scenes of children surviving alone for eight months, by earning and running a household, instead of being cared for like their peers, are unacceptable in a civilized society and that this requires urgent reaction from those responsible in the child protection system.
"After facts have been established about the work of competent authorities in this case, the public will be informed about the findings of the protector of citizens and the measures he will take," said Pasalic.
RTS is reporting that provincial Secretary for Social Policy, Demography and Gender Equality Predrag Vuletic will visit the Alibunar Center for Social Welfare on Thursday to provide emergency care for the six children.
"The Provincial Secretariat was not informed about the Kozjak children case by the competent Center for Social Welfare," the Provincial Government said in a statement.
Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Zoran Djordjevic also reacted to this issue. He said that the ministry requested from the Provincial Secretariat for Social Policy, Demography and Gender Equality to urgently provide information regarding the case and ordered the Republic Social Welfare Inspectorate to inspect the work of the Alibunar Social Welfare Center.
"Centers for social welfare in the territory of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina fall within the responsibility of the Provincial authority, more specifically the Provincial Secretariat for Social Policy, Demography and Gender Equality. The Law on Social Protection, Article 167, paragraph 2, defines that supervision of the professional work of these centers in the territory of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina is done by the competent provincial authorities as a delegated job," said a statement published on the ministry's website.
The minister stressed that his department will make utmost efforts to engage in order to provide these children with better living conditions.
"Care for chidren is our biggest obligation, we will make every effort to determine the facts in the case and find a way to provide them with a carefree childhood," the minister stressed.
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