Ensuring quality care and protection for children in times of crisis in Greece

17 February 2016
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The round table will be co-hosted tomorrow by Stelios Kouloglou MEP together with Jean Lambert MEP and organised in partnership with Lumos, an international NGO, founded by author J. K. Rowling, working to end the institutionalisation of children around the world by 2050. Participants will include MEPs, representatives of the Greek government, European institutions and civil society.

Eighty years of research has demonstrated the harm caused to children by institutionalisation.  In spite of best intentions, institutions do not protect children; instead they leave children more vulnerable to violence, abuse and neglect.

The EU has recognised the harm caused by institutionalisation and has played an instrumental role in the efforts to end this form of care. By introducing an ex-ante conditionality on social inclusion with an investment priority on the “transition from institutional to community based services” in the Regulation 1303/2013 on the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) the EU has prohibited their use on the maintenance, renovation or construction of residential institutions while encouraging Member States, that have not yet made the transition, to prioritise programmes which support it.

The discussion will address the current challenges faced by the child care and protection systems in Greece and suggest how all available resources, including the ESI Funds, could be best used for providing working solutions in line with the best interest of the child principle and existing international and EU legislation.

The aims of the discussion will be as follows:

To raise awareness of the harm caused by institutionalisation, including the connection between child trafficking and institutionalisation, and the better alternatives that exist.

To raise awareness of the considerable potential to use all the available funding sources, including the ESI Funds, to deliver better quality of care for children, including their transition from large institutional to family and community-based services.

To present Lumos’ recent research about the situation in Greece, conducted in partnership with the Institute for Child Health, and start a discussion on how to ensure effective use of ESI Funds in the country for securing children’s rights, child protection and quality family and community-based care.

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