On the occasion of Metal Health Day on October 10, the City of Zagreb and the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center organized an international conference entitled “Related to Child Welfare: a multidisciplinary approach in diagnosis and treatment of childhood trauma in a family environment” for experts who work daily in the field of child protection. Lectures at the conference were held by internationally recognized experts from Europe and Croatia through the Zoom platform.

This gathering attracted an extremely large number of participants in the field of child protection (health, justice, police, social welfare, education), by far unrecorded in the region, with as many as a thousand registered participants, which proves that experts strive for continuous education in the field of mental health care, children’s health. Due to such great interest, we plan to organize a similar gathering soon, and all announcements will be published on the website of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center (https://www.poliklinika-djeca.hr/).

According to the World Health Organization, every fifth child has a mental health disorder, and only every fifth child receives adequate professional help. Since there is no single profession or institution that can adequately respond to the needs and rights of children with trauma, multidisciplinarity and intersectoral cooperation are the only models of coordinated and adequate treatment in the protection of children and youth and their mental health, and this gathering was dedicated to that.

The professional meeting was opened by professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, director of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, emphasized that this gathering will bring results in a way that multidisciplinarity and intersectoral cooperation from today live even more in works, and not as letters on paper.

Deputy Mayor of the City of Zagreb, Jelena Pavičić Vukičević, PhD, especially commented on the importance of local action in order to preserve the health of children and youth and pointed out two important projects of the City of Zagreb: “Support in the palm of your hand” and the campaign “Fighters against coronavirus” which will be launched in a few days as recommendations for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 virus.

The representative of the Youth Committee of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, Patrik Žagar, said that adults need to ask children and young people more what they feel and how we can help them, ie that it is better to connect professionals and the family better understand the problems, but also find solutions more easily. He pointed out that he hopes that this gathering will contribute to the fact that there are no missed opportunities among young people to help in situations when they need it.

Judge Lana Petö Kujundžić, PhD, President of the Youth Department of the Zagreb County Court, stated that child-friendly justice refers to cooperation between professionals and a common framework and plan of interventions and actions to assess the best interests of each child.

Vlatka Boričević Maršanić, PhD – MD, specialist in psychiatry, subspecialist in child and adolescent psychiatry pointed out that although every fifth child has a mental disorder, only every fifth receives adequate help, and this obliges us to act urgently and in terms of prevention, but and specific interventions.

Member of Parliament, Ivan Čelić, PhD-MD, member of the Parliamentary Committee for Health and Social Policy, psychiatry specialist, head of the Department of Dual Disorders of the Clinic for Psychiatry “Vrapče” gave a lecture entitled “Mental health of young people in the context of the national strategy for mental health 2020-2030”.

Tatjana Katkić Stanić, MSc, Head of the Sector for Policy Coordination and Improvement of the Professional Work of Social Welfare Centers, warned of the importance of respecting professional decisions related to the best interests of the child, especially in cases of divorce.

Renowned expert from Sweden Olivia Lind Haldorsson, head of the Children at Risk Unit Council of the Baltic Sea States stressed that if we work in accordance with the standards we have set in a multidisciplinary context, we can provide a comprehensive, accessible, multidisciplinary and interdepartmental response for every child. a way that the interests of the child always remain the primary issue.

Professor Milica Pejović Milovančević, PhD – MD, specialist in child psychiatry, director of the Institute for Mental Health in Belgrade, emphasized the importance of investing in not only multidisciplinary and intersectoral cooperation but also regional cooperation with the aim of developing and establishing good practices in the region in child protection.

Marija Posavec, MD, specialist in school and university medicine, president of the Croatian Society for School and University Medicine, emphasized the extremely important role of systematic examinations within schools and kindergartens, which can be an excellent starting point and assessment of children and youth at risk for mental health disorders.

Professor Marina Ajduković, PhD, from the Study Center for Social Work at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb pointed out the difficulties and challenges of multidisciplinary and interdepartmental cooperation due to the complexity of the issue and stressed the importance of education and supervision of professionals to preserve their mental health.

Anita Matijević, Head of the Department for Juvenile Delinquency and Crime to the detriment of youth and families in the Criminal Police Directorate, commented on the importance of urgent and urgent action in cases of revealing the victim and stressed the importance of active simultaneous action of all departments.

Bruna Profaca, PhD, a clinical psychologist, emphasized the importance of an integrative approach in both the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, especially in the form of preventing re-victimization and retraumatization of the child.


Due to the great interest of experts, we will soon organize a similar expert meeting. The announcement of the meeting will be published on the website of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center (https://www.poliklinika-djeca.hr/).


For all additional inquiries you can contact kresimir.prijatelj@poliklinika-djeca.hr or ana.raguz@poliklinika-djeca.hr


Disclaimer: This is unofficial translation provided for information purposes. Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center cannot be held legally responsible for any translation inaccuracy.   

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