More than 800 street children identified in main cities

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 5, 2016 16:34

More than 800 street children identified in main cities

Story Highlights

  • "Enrollment in schools, kindergartens and nurseries of children in street situation and the employment of their parents remains the biggest challenge. This happens because quota in public pre-school and school institutions are limited and children who register often abandon them and there is lack of reaction by school or social service employees on these cases," says the report.

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TIRANA, Sept. 5 – Street children and child labour continues remaining a widespread phenomenon in Albania’s biggest urban centres.

Monitoring carried out by the State Agency for the Protection of Children’s Rights during July 2015-June 2016 identified 808 street children in the country’s seven biggest municipalities of Tirana, Durres, Shkodra, Elbasan, Fier, Korça and Vlora accounting for about three quarters of Albania’s 2.8 million resident population.

Public authorities say they managed to provide assistance to roughly only half of the identified cases, some 345 street children, who were offered access to education while their parents employment opportunities.

The public child protection agency said it filed 24 lawsuits against economic exploitation of street children.

“Enrollment in schools, kindergartens and nurseries of children in street situation and the employment of their parents remains the biggest challenge. This happens because quota in public pre-school and school institutions are limited and children who register often abandon them and there is lack of reaction by school or social service employees on these cases,” says the report.

“Prejudice against this community, their low educational level and the limited level of employment opportunities make the employment of parents of children difficult,” it adds.

The approach on street children now is providing the necessary services to improve their standard of living rather than their accommodation in residential public shelters and filing criminal charges against their parents.

Albania is implementing a 2015-2017 national action plan on the protection of children from all forms of abuse, exploitation and neglect through the strengthening of their households.

A 2014 UNICEF report unveiled there were more than 2,500 street children aged up to 18 years old in Albania. The overwhelming majority of three-quarters of them were boys belonging to the vulnerable Roma and Egyptian communities.

Street children are mostly involved in selling items, begging and informal jobs including marijuana cultivation.

Abuse, violence, exploitation, discrimination, neglect, poverty and social exclusion are considered some of main human rights concerns facing children and adolescents in Albania, according to a 2015 child well-being report by Christian charity World Vision.

The worst forms of child labour in Albania can be found among street children, children who are trafficked, children involved in illegal economic activities, children working in the formal sector and children working in the agriculture sector. The root causes of these problems can be attributed to a combination of a lack of knowledge among parents, children and community regarding children’s rights and gaps and weaknesses in the child protection systems and government structures intended to support children, as well as pervasive corruption, says World Vision.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 5, 2016 16:34