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Multi-stakeholder effort to protect migrant children

2013-09-11

August 12-15, 2013, Burgas, Bulgaria: Neglected Children Society-ECPAT Bulgaria organized two multidisciplinary training seminars in order to improve the protection of children on the move- as part of the project Mario.
The first seminar was organized for police officers including border police and police in temporary shelters for children, local committees for the prevention of juvenile delinquency and NGOs working with abused and exploited children around Bulgaria. During the seminar participants focused on good practices in their work with migrant children, children returned from abroad, children – victims of trafficking and exploitation and the problems in multi-stakeholder cooperation when dealing with cases of children at risk and victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking. Special attention was given to the challenges of multidisciplinary work of the responsible institutions included in the National Referral Mechanism and their ability to ensure adequate care and social services to children returning from abroad. Participants pointed out the importance of ensuring financial support for the better functioning of the Mechanism, but also the need for capacity building of all members implicated in the NRM, including diplomats at Bulgarian Embassies working on cases with children at risk.
The second training was entitled ‘Reintegraion of Children accommodated in Crisis Centers’ was attended by directors, social workers and psychologists from Crisis Centers, representatives of State Agency for Child Protection(SACP), but also the Burgas Regional Directorate for Control on the Rights of the Children, as well as Police Child Pedagogical Inspectors and NGOs operating with Crisis centers for children victims of trafficking and violence from different regions.. A foreign trainer – psychologist from Netherlands working with children and families, victims of trafficking and exploitation abroad, attended the training and during the sessions explained to the participants how to reduce the psychological trauma of victims, how to organize supervision and to surmount the negative consequences of the professional burnout,
During the seminar participants focused on good practices in their work related to crisis intervention and psychological support to the children accommodated in the Crisis centers. Special attention was put on the work with migrant children, children returned from abroad – victims of trafficking and family exploitation for begging. The specialists identified the serious problems in the reintegration of the children who leave the Crisis centers, the specific problems of the multistakeholder cooperation in dealing with cases of children at risk and children victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking. The representatives of the Crisis centers pointed out the urgent need of ensuring enough financial and human resources for successful delivering of social services to children on the move from different categories and the necessity of advocacy activities for optimization of the work in the Crisis centers.
Participants of both seminars visited the local Crisis Center in Burgas, managed by DEMETRA Foundation and learned about the good practice as well as the challenges of the Crisis center.