Within the regional ChildHub initiative, the Center for Youth Integration, in cooperation with the Republic Institute for Social Protection and the Network of Children’s Organizations of Serbia (MODS), organized the Conference ‘Children in the Street Situation: The System. Experience. Cooperation’.
The conference was dedicated to the system’s response to children in the street situation, with special reference to the United Nation’s General Comment no. 21, the often traumatic life experiences of these children, the experience of the Drop in Shelter for children in street situation, and the need for cooperation from all actors in the system.
At the beginning of the conference, participants were presented with the success and results of the ChildHub Initiative platform over the past five years.
Director of the Republic Institute for Social Protection, Bozidar Dakic, had opening speech and gave a brief introduction on the state of children’s rights in Republic of Serbia. After him, Director of Center for Youth Integration, Marko Tosic, and Director of the Network of Children’s Organizations of Serbia (MODS), Sasa Stefanovic, talked specifically about the Convention on the rights of the Child and UN General Comment 21 on Children in street situation but with the reflection on the position of this group of children in our country.
The event was attended by more than 100 people, including representatives of institutions from the social protection system, childcare facilities and centers for social work, universities, and the civil sector.
In addition to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and UN General Comment 21 on Children in street situation, the conference also addressed ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences), and thus, Benjamin Perks’ speech from the TEDx event in Podgorica was presented to explain ACE and offer a reflection on life wellbeing. Additionally, a large-scale ACE survey conducted by UNICEF Serbia was presented by Oliver Toskovic, member of the research team. Also, from the Coordinator of Drop in Shelter, Mina Lukic, participants heard a Case Study of one beneficiary of the Drop in Shelter for children in street situation.
Attendees agreed that each system individually is not sufficient or capable of responding to the most complex life situations in which some children in a street situation find themselves, and therefore, the only real solution is a multisector response.