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The training for diverse group of professionals in Montenegro who applied to obtain a license to work as a Support Persons to the Child in Family Law related proceedings

Center’s director, prof. dr. sc. Gordana Buljan Flander participated as one of consultants in education of professionals in Montenegro. The objective of the consultancy was to provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Justice of Montenegro for the development of the training material and delivery of the training for diverse group of professionals who applied to obtain a license to work as a Support Persons to the Child (in Family Law related proceedings). As consultants, besides prof.dr.sc. Gordana Buljan Flander from Croatia, participated also prof.dr.sc. Nevena Perušić and prof.dr.sc. Nevena Vučković Šahović from Serbia.

Five moduls of education and training

Up to 30 candidates for the Support persons from different parts of Montenegro participated and were quite active and engaged in the delivery of the training. The education consisted of five modules and activities of the assignment conducted in close cooperation with the relevant representatives of the Ministry of Justice and UNICEF’s Child Protection Team.

The participants appreciated all topics of the training, discussed extensively and expressed high interest in particular in relation to the related topics they deal with in their regular work. Most of the participants expressed need for a continuous education, especially trainings in which they could actually practice and test cases they will have as the future Support persons. The main activity of the consultancy was the training, which, in consultants’ assessment was very successful.

Prof. dr. sc. Gordana Buljan Flander hold lectures about communication skills and establishing a relationship with a child and dealing with resistance. Furthermore, one lecture was devoted to communication skills in accordance with the developmental age of child and vulnerable groups of children as well as on how to determine the best interest of the child. Second part of the training was focused on the impact of parental separation on the child and ability to recognize a child’s voice in the divorce of parents. On the second day, participants learned how to establish a relationship with child, how to recognize a child’s voice and prepare a child for the court.

Recommendations and conclusions

At the end of education and training, consultants give some recommendations with emphasis on plan for continuous training of the first group of Support persons for the period of the duration of their license. Furthermore, such toolkit should be developed in a form of Guidance for the operation for the support persons, which would provide practical advice for the work with children (in particular in accordance with the age of the child), as well as for the cooperation with courts, collision representative and the child’s parents. The participants suggested and consultants agreed and hence recommend occasional legal and psychological support in their work as well as formal act that will clearly define roles and relations in cases where support person assigned to the child. A regular contact/ exchange of views and information between support persons, attorneys and Centers for Social Welfare is necessary.