On 18 May 2017, the National Network for Children in Bulgaria released its annual publication “Report Card 2017: What is the average government score for childcare?” This year’s sixth edition of the monitoring report, originally launched in 2011, was presented simultaneously in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia and eight other locations across the country.
The report card examines implementation of the public authorities’ commitments for children in five areas: 1) General Principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; 2) Family Environment and Alternative Care; 3) Healthcare; 4) Education; 5) Justice. Traditionally, when developing the texts, the National Network for Children considers the points of view of the institutions, the opinions of all 144 member organisations of the Network as well as the input of external experts so that the achievements and challenges could be assessed in the most objective manner. This year, more than 25 experts authored the text and 6 external specialists reviewed evaluations and scored grades. Apart from the recommendations of the Bulgarian experts, the Report Card took into consideration the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which were given to the State in June 2016.
Current edition of the “Report Card” is even more special as it offers a new approach towards participation of children, young people and adults in its production. In addition to the expert report, a special edition under the name “Report Card: How children, parents and professionals evaluate the state?” was released this year. The document includes inputs received during consultations and focus groups with nearly 900 children, young people, parents and professionals. It reflects their real life experience with public policies and state commitments and what excites and worries them the most.
The “Report Card 2017” reflects a slight drop in the execution of relevant state commitments with the grade point average (GPA) of 3.20 out of 6.00. Last year, the state’s GPA was 3.28 and it was the highest score since the launch of the initiative in 2011. “Healthcare” (3.64), “Education” (3.44) and “Justice” (3.05) became the top three areas that received the highest scores this year.
The “Family Environment and Alternative Care” area received a score of 3.01 out of 6 in 2017, which remains almost identical to the 2016 score of 3.02. Despite the declared governmental commitments towards supporting parents and guaranteeing the right of a child to a family through creation of prevention and alternative services for children and closure of the specialised institutions, in practice there is still no comprehensive approach towards supporting children and families in the country.
The lowest score of 2.86 in Report Card 2017, similarly to previous years was awarded for “General Principles under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child”. The lowest graded sub-domain “Non-discrimination” received a score of 2.13. For the fifth consecutive year, progress on reviewing the cases of discrimination against children cannot be reported. Bulgaria remains one of the three EU states that does not have a specialised Ombudsperson on the rights of the children. There are reported practices of unequal treatment towards refugee children, children with disabilities and Roma children in their access to quality education, healthcare,adequate housing and social protection.
The “Report Card 2017” is issued in two versions: a shorter version – aimed at the general public and a full version – aimed at professionals and institutions. Read a full version of “REPORT CARD 2017: What is the average government score for childcare?”here: a4_belejnik2017_web (3 MB) For a shorter version “Report Card: How children, parents and professionals evaluate the state?”, click here – a5_belejnik2017_web (2 МВ).