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At the 9th European Forum on the Rights of the Child

European Commission organised the 9th European Forum on the Rights of the Child and invited psychologist of Child Protection Center, Ana Marija Spanic, to make a presentation on challenges in child protection.

Coordination and cooperation in integrated child protection systems

The Forum was held in Bruxelles on 3rd and 4th June 2015, with the specific focus on coordination and cooperation in integrated child protection systems. The Forum aimed to foster the exchange of good practices, to facilitate connections and inter-sectoral and inter-agency levels both nationally and transnationally, and to promote more effective cooperation and coordination in integrated child protection systems. The first day of the Forum was dedicated to high-level speeches, while the second day focused on more specialised discussions on different stages of integrated child protection systems, relating to prevention (Session 1), identification, reporting and referral (Session 2), investigation, treatment, follow-up and judicial involvement (Session 3), and effective procedures (Session 4).

Mr Paul Nemitz, Director at DG Justice and Consumers, Fundamental Rights and Union Citizenship opened the first day of the Forum, followed by the discussion on coordination and cooperation in integrated child protection systems with the presentations and contributions of Ms Vera Jourava, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality by video message, Mr Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Ms Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Co-Chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on the Rights of the Child, Mr Reinis Uzulnieks, Parliamentary Secretary for Welfare, Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Next session of Day 1 had an emphasis on the functioning of child protection systems, with the contributions of Ms Susan Bissell, Associate Director and Chief of Child Protection in UNICEF, Ms Gabriela Coman, State Secretary of the Ministry of Labour in Romania, Mr Tam Baillie, Children`s Ombudsperson and ENOC Chair and Ms Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director-General of Democracy in Council of Europe.

Targeting the root causes of violence

The plenary session of Day 2 was introduced by Ms Chiara Adamo, Head of Unit in DG Justice and Consumers, Fundamental rigths and rights of the child, and Ms Georgia Dimitropoulou, Seconded National Expert in Equality and Citizens Rights Department, EU Fundamental Rights Agency, presenting an overview of FRA mapping of EU28 national child protection systems.

The Day 2 of the Forum was organized in four sessions: Session 1 covering Prevention of violence against children, public health and other measures to positively promote respectful child-rearing and targeting the root causes of violence such as social exclusion and discrimination, Session 2 on Identification, reporting and referral, identifying risk factors for particular individuals or groups of children and caregivers, the means available to children to signal emerging problems and to adults in their environment able to recognise and act on such problems. Session 3 focused on Investigation, treatment, follow-up and judicial involvement, covering investigation by qualified professionals, requiring a child-rights and child-sensitive approach, with avoidance of secondary and repeat victimisation, due weights to the childs views and treatment practices and challenges, as well as follow-up addressing the need for continuity of actions and all judicial proceedings in the child`s situation, integrating EU law provisions, and Session 4 on Effective procedures, covering inter-sectoral coordination, protocols and memoranda, ongoing data collection and analysis, the development and implementation of research agenda and measurable objectives and indicators in relation to policies, processes and outcomes for children and families.

More specifically, Session 3 was focusing on investigation, treatment, follow-up and judicial involvement, co-chaired by Margaret Tuite, Commission coordinator for the rights of the child and Olivia Lind Haldorsson, Child Circle. The five expert panellists at this session were Prof. Ursula Kilkelly, School of Law at University College Cork, Mr Francisco Javier Forcada Miranda, Directorate-General of International Legal Cooperation and Interfaith Relations at Ministry of Justice in Spain, Liedewij de Ruijter de Wildt from the Nidos Foundation in the Netherlands, Mr Bragi Guðbrandsson, Director General of the Government Agency for Child Protection in Iceland and Ms Ana Marija Spanic, psychologist at the Child Protection Center of Zagreb.

Current practices and the experience of Child Protection Center of Zagreb

Ana Marija Spanic, psychologist at the Child Protection Center of Zagreb, was invited to make a presentation on challenges in child protection in which she shared current practices and the experience of Child Protection Center of Zagreb, with the special emphasis on 10 principles for child protection published to guide and inform discussion at the Forum.

Conclusions from the sessions and Forum conclusions were made by Ms Margaret Tuite, Commission coordinator for the rigths of the child, Fundamental rights and rigths of the child Unit, DG Justice and Consumers and rapporteurs from the four parallel sessions, with concluding remarks made by Ms Paraskevi Michou, Acting Director General, DG Justice and Consumers.

All information including valuable background papers, the presentation of all Forums presenters and the report of the Forum can be found on the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/rights-child/european-forum/ninth-meeting/index_en.htm