Children's protection from the effects of the economic crisis
The Region of Crete is a Local Self-Administration Organization of second level and consists of 4 Regional Units : Heraklion , Lasithi , Rethymno and Chania. ROC designs and implements policies on economic, social, tourist and cultural development of the island .
The Department of Social Welfare of the Region of Crete, in the context of its duties related to social and economic support for vulnerable groups, took the initiative to implement the action "Children's Protection from the effects of the economic crisis", in order to support children of families facing serious survival problems. The action is based on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that defines the rights of children to grow up free from hunger and shortages, neglect or exploitation, which also includes universal principles, as well as guidelines.
More specifically, two initiatives are included in the action:
a) the Supplementary Teaching program, which comprises educational courses and language learning and
b) the Social Sport program, which support students to participate in Sports Academies (Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Swimming, Karate, Athletics, and Tennis) free of charge.
In those initiatives, two distinguish groups were involved; Students whose families are facing serious welfare problems and volunteers professionals to teach the supplementary programs. The concept of both initiatives is based on the principle that education and sports are constitutionally guaranteed as social goods. Every child has the right, without discrimination and restrictions, to enjoy equal access to education, to play sports and enjoy the benefits of sport on health and on psycho-social development.
School children of families belonging to vulnerable groups of the population facing serious financial problems and being residents in the Region of Crete. Orphan Children or Children of families unable to take care of them.
2011 - today
The Department of Social Welfare of the Region of Crete (DSWRC), through an ongoing cooperation with other public bodies and NGO's (Municipalities, Church, Social Clinics, Social pharmacies, public awareness groups), launched an open call for its new initiatives. In order to promote its new programs, the DSWRC opened consultation meetings organized at the headquarters of the Region of Crete (one meeting) and at the headquarters of the Regional Administration Units (three meetings). During the meetings, the participation, the conditions and the role of each actor for the implementation of the programs were analyzed in depth.
The operation of Supplementary Teaching Program began during the school year 2012 - 2013 in cooperation with volunteer Teachers, the Association of Private Coaching Schools, the Association of Private Coaching Schools for foreign languages (PALSO) and relevant Departments of the University of Crete. The total number of applications has been served and the children were attending classes in Private Coaching Schools and in public schools by Volunteer Teachers offering high quality educational courses.
In parallel, a pilot initiative named the "Social Sport" was implemented as a trial scheme in the Regional Administration Units of Heraklion and Chania. The Social Sport program adresses primary and secondary school students who face financial problems and would very like to be trained in a sport. Besides the imlementation of the program in Heraklion and Chania Regional Units, the intention is to further implement the program in the other two Regional Units of Rethymnon and Lassithi. The procedure for the selection of the candidates is carried out by the Committee of the Region, following the application of the parent or the guardian of the student at the Section of Social Solidarity of the Regional Administration Units of Crete. The Committee of the Region consists of three members; the Head of the Department of Public Health and Social Welfare, the Head of the Section of Social Solidarity and the responsible public social worker.
The Department of Social Welfare of the Region of Crete in the intensification of child protection actions, also took the initiative to develop information and awareness practices for alternative forms of child protection such as the foster care and the adoption. For this purpose, the Unified Data of Foster Parents (UDFP) created and updated in permanent basis. So, there is a full register of parents and families and the evolution of each case separately. The UDFP gives the opportunity for a direct choice of candidates’ foster parents to every neglected child. The foster parents are invited to be informed and if they are interested, they can proceed to the 1st step, for the official application. The next stage for the foster parents is their participation in the "School of parents" for their education in the new role. Then, the process is completed. The developed UDFP is a dynamic tool and it is continually upgraded by the Region of Crete to the citizens, because the candidate foster parents from different areas can directly learn about the child's existence. The child is temporarily housed in the hospital and is being driven in an Care Institution for the social support of children. This helps to the de-institutionalization of children, an overarching objective that increase the number of children protected. The Region of Crete in order to inform the citizens: Organized a conference under the title: "Alternative Forms of Child Care / Adoption-Foster Parents” and established the standardization of documents for the simplification of the bureaucratic procedures. An innovative leaflet has been published by the Department of Social Welfare for the promotion of Adoption and Foster Parents issue. This advertising material has been distributed both in primary and secondary schools ass well as in all Social Services at national level (a copy is attached). The Region has informed all Social Services of the Region for the International Adoptions, the partner countries, the criteria and the implementation stages, in order to accelerate the procedure for the adoption.
Social Supplementary Education-Social Sports: For the period 2012-2015, Sessions of Foreign Languages: 372 children, teaching for 129 children in Sessions in Private Coaching Schools, 30 children were enrolled Sessions of Volunteers Teachers in Public Schools and 25 children to sports clubs. The total number of children served this period reached 556 children.
Specifically: For the year 2012-2013: In Sessions of Foreign Languages Programs: 152 children, in Sessions in Private Coaching Schools: 97, in Sessions of Volunteers Teachers in Public Schools: 30 children. Overall, served the needs of 279 children. For the year 2013-2014: In Sessions of Foreign Languages : 93 children. Overall, served the needs of 93 children. For the year 2014-2015: In Sessions of Foreign Languages : 127 children in Sessions in Private Coaching Schools 63 children, in Sport Clubs: 170 children. Overall, served the needs of children.
For the year 2015-2016: In Sessions of Foreign Languages 100 children , in Sessions in Private Coaching Schools 63 children, in Sport Clubs: 170 children. Overall, served the needs of 333 children.
B. Foster parents: For the period 2011-2014, there were 26 candidates couples for foster parents, 22 couples became foster parents, while two pairs rejected.
Specifically: For 2011: There was one candidate couple for foster parents. For 2012: There were 2 nominated couples for foster parents, seven couples became foster parents, while the underwriting candidacy two couples rejected. For 2013: There were 8 couples nominated for underwriting and 7 couples became foster parents.
For 2014: There were 15 couples nominated for underwriting and 8 couples became foster parents.
For 2015: There were 10 couples nominated for underwriting and 9 couples became foster parents
C. Adoption: For the period 2011-2014, 31 adoptions were made in Heraklion Prefecture, 11 in Rethymnon Prefecture, 9 in Lasithi and 31 in Chania. Overall, in the Region of Crete 82 adoptions took place in that period.
Specifically: Adoptions for 2011: Prefecture of Heraklion: 6, Rethymno: 2 Lasithi: 2, Chania: 9. Overall, 19 adoptions. Adoptions for 2012: Prefecture of Heraklion: 7, Rethymno: 3 Lasithi: 1, Chania Prefecture: 9. Overall, 20 adoptions. Adoptions for 2013: Prefecture of Heraklion: 9, Rethymno: 2 Lasithi: 4 Chania: 6. Overall, 21 adoptions. Adoptions for 2014: Prefecture of Heraklion: 9, Rethymno: 4, Lassithi Prefecture: 2, Chania Prefecture: 7. Overall, 22 adoptions.
Adoptions for 2015: Prefecture of Heraklion: 14, Lassithi: 2, Chania :10. Overall, 26 adoptions.
Region of Crete.
Working with Organization
The Department of Social Welfare of the Region of Crete has cooperated with Educational Associations, Educational Organizations and Sport Clubs.
In the Working Group for the monitoring and implementation of the initiatives for the Child Protection participated: