MODS − the network of organisations for children of Serbia and national coordinator of the Opening Doors campaign in Serbia − expressed its satisfaction regarding the fact that the new Serbian Prime Minister Ms Ana Brnabic gave due prominence to the child rights protection in her Keynote Speech. Specifically, the Prime Minister declared that the Government will give priority to measures regarding improving the situation of children, including the transformation of residential care institutions and the development of community-based services.
After Mr Aleksandar Vucic stepped down as Serbian Prime Minister following his victory at the presidential elections, the serving minister for public administration Ms Ana Brnabić was entrusted with the task to form the new Cabinet. Awaiting for the formation of the new Government, MODS decided to address Ms Brnabic and to urge her to give due prominence to the child rights protection in her Keynote Speech. To that end, MODS submitted a letter to Ms Brnabic in order to point out to the specific measures that the new Government should take in order to improve the position of children. MODS also wished to remind Ms Brnabic that a year ago then’s Prime Minister Mr Vucic endorsed similar proposals received from MODS in his Keynote Speech.
The National Assembly voted the elect the new Serbian Government on 29 June. The advocacy activities of MODS proved worthwhile. The new Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic agreed to include measures concerning child rights protection in the Keynote Speech which directly reflected proposals made by MODS. The Work Program of the Government acknowledges that “the percentage of children at risk of poverty is among the highest in Europe and amounts to 30 per cent” and states that the new government will “pay special attention to reducing child poverty”. In that respect, the document indicates to amendments to the Law on Financial Support to Families with Children with the aim to increase the cash benefits directed towards families with children. Furthermore, the documents declares that the Government “will give priority to the child protection system by additionally engaging the Council for Child Rights and strengthening its role in formulating and monitoring sectorial policies in the field of children’s rights, in accordance with the Action Plan for the Chapter 23”. Additionally, the document also contains promises related to the transformation of residential care institutions and the development of community-based services, as well as to increasing the accessibility and quality of education for all children.
Prioritizing the child rights protection in the Keynote Speech of the Prime Minister represents an encouraging step for the further development of the child care system in Serbia. MODS welcomes that act and announces that it will continue to monitor whether the Government fulfils its promises given to the children.