On April 17th and 18th over 40 experts from 15 countries in Central and Eastern Europe gathered in Bucharest to discuss the issues of increased concern for children in families divided by work related migration.
Within two days a total of 11 speakers presented the regional perspectives on the situation in their home countries, the challenges for children left behind and professionals working with them, and different support and intervention models. Representative of National Network for Children, Bulgaria, was Ina Radkova, who works as a psychologist at the Complex for Social Services for Children and Families in Ruse, managed by the NGO “Equilibrium”. On the first day she presented a study, conducted by UNICEF Bulgaria, on the topic of children left behind by their migrant parents, and on the second day she presented a case study from her practice. Her presentations covered the main problems children of migrant parents face in Bulgaria and the need for many changes in the child welfare system.
Two field visits took place on April 17th – one at the St. Dimitrie Foundation, Centre for Education and Community Support, and the other at the local office of Terre des Hommes Foundation. The participants were given the opportunity to learn about the work of these organizations and to discuss with their representatives the main problems faced by children left behind and practitioners working with them. On April 18th the conference ended with a world café session (“Regional Cooperation Options to Tackle the Challenges of Children Left Behind”).