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IMG00132On 2nd July, 2010 a group of representatives of the Centre for working with street children (CRDU) and the Child Protection Department in the municipality of Suvorovo visited the Ruse complex.

The centre in Suvorovo is created to help children from families at risk aged 6 to 18 years old and has an operating capacity of 20 cases. The main goals of the Suvorovo social workers are to combat social exclusion and to ensure the children in question, who have frequently been left without parental supervision, are successfully integrated within the formal schooling system. Our guests reported that the programme for the first group of children ended in June, 2010. During the prior 12 months, the children had attended daycare to learn about health and hygiene.

At the end of the visit, we discussed the difficulties in providing the social service for street children drawing the conclusion that the difficulties are common to all service providers. Desislava Encheva, the director of the Ruse complex said it is necessary to re-define what is meant by the term street children to enlarge the target group and to encompass primary and secondary prevention. She gave the example of Ruse CRDU working with groups of children from the Roma community to prevent them from dropping out of school and limit their involvement in activities outside the home that create a risk of harm to their physical, psychological and social development. She added that these activities tend to lead children towards significant antisocial behaviour and criminality. Children in these groups are borderline cases. Not formally recorded as being at risk, they are excluded from the current protection measures. It makes practical sense to intervene at this early stage by putting in place structured programmes that may prevent irreversible damage.

We hope that the established contacts with CRDU Suvorovo will develop into a partnership and lead to future cooperation.