04
June

Published: Tuesday, 04.06.2013

Conference on the preparation for child’s removal from the family

SOS Children's Village Croatia and the Association of Juvenile Court Judges, family court judges and child care specialists organized a conference entitled “Removal of children from families, preparation and implementation”. A number of new issues and concerns were discussed, in light of all the legal and social changes related to the family separation and alternative care.

Participating in the conference were Višnja Matić, the SOS Children's Village Ladimirevci psychologist, Dr. Jugoslav Gojković, psychiatrist, Tijana Kokić, judge at the Municipal Civil court in Zagreb and Božena Horvat-Alajbegović, director of the Zagreb Social Welfare Center. Moderating the conference was Prof. Marina Ajduković, Ph.D., lecturer at the Department of Social Work, Zagreb Law School.
Višnja Matić, the psychologist from the SOS Children's Village Ladimirevci, spoke about the preparation for the child’s removal from the family, with special emphasis on decision making and admission, and standards that need to be applied during this phase. Jugoslav Gojković, the psychiatrist, focused on the emotional state of the child during the processes of removal, placement, and adjustment. He also touched upon the professional competence of staff involved in these processes and strategies for their strengthening.
In her presentation, the Municipal Court judge Tijana Kokić pointed out the shortage of material and human resources required to make timely decisions on family separation, and absence of direct contact with the child and his or her parents before the decision is made. The director of the Zagreb Social Welfare Center also referred to the extremely difficult and sensitive nature of making the decision to remove the child, and once again emphasized the lack of material and human resources as issues that hinder the social welfare center employees in the efficient performance of their professional tasks.
Prof. Marina Ajduković opened a focused and constructive discussion. Conclusions focused primarily on how to speed up the process of deciding on the child’s removal from the family and placement in alternative care and make it more efficient. Everyone agreed it was essential to improve collaboration between the relevant stakeholders in the decision-making process regarding the removal of the child, especially between courts and social welfare centers, to invest in the training of professionals in these fields, and most importantly, to respect the right of the child to participate in the far-reaching decision whether to be removed from his or her biological family or not.
 

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