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Guidelines on Determining the Best Interest of the Child
Guidelines on Determining the Best Interest of the Child were created within the second phase of the project Setting an agenda for Child Oriented Social Reform, and its implemented with joint actions by NGO Atina, Save the children and Grupa 484, with the financial support of Europe Commission and Save the Children, in order to further improve policies and programmes to support children on the move in the Republic of Serbia,
Entirely based on the results of the first phase of the project, this initiative takes into account international standards in the field of protection of children on the move, as well as the findings of the national survey Children on the move - status and programmes of support and protection of children on the move in the Republic of Serbia. Recommendations of this analysis, for which guidelines are derived primarily from children on the move, but also from representatives of professional community, and institutions and civil society organisations who work directly with children, are a starting point for improvement of the system of protection and child-friendly services, bearing in mind the specificity and complexity of the position of children on the move in Serbia, in the second phase of the initiative.
Guidelines on Determining the Best Interest of the Child aim to encourage creation of a sustainable system for the organisation of interventions and programmes to protect children on the move in the phase of continuous collection of data significant for the systematic definition of this group of children and identification of their position in the process of protection, their strengths and the risks they are exposed to. It is intended for the professionals from the social protection system engaged in direct work with children, as well as civil society organisations, and all other institutions that come into contact with children on the move as part of their regular activities. Although in the coming period it would be necessary to consider the systematic changes that would commit to the implementation of instruments for determining the best interest of the child, the Guidelines can be used in this phase in the daily work on the assessment of needs, creating and implementing adequate programmes of support and protection of children on the move in the Republic Serbia. For these purposes, forms are created for preliminary and full assessment of the best interest of the child, according to international and regional examples and experiences of the national system of protection of children on the move.
The consultations that have been conducted with practitioners from various systems engaged in direct work with children on the move, and representatives of the Coordination Group of the project SCORE II in the process of developing the Guidelines, have enabled an insight into existing practices of determining the best interest of children on the move, as well as into challenges in assessing that must be overcome in the process of building institutional capacities and advocacy.
Guidelines include specific directions for introducing gender perspective into the process of assessing the best interest, and thus tend to justify concern about gender equality in policies for the protection of children on the move, as a standard and unavoidable segment of the development of national policies and practices. This publication is an important step in continuation of work on improving the position of children on the move in Serbia, but also a call for further cooperation, exchange and consideration of best practices in this field.
Guidelines were created by the author Aleksandra Galonja, consultant of NGO Atina, and can be found at: http://www.atina.org.rs/sites/default/files/Vodic_za_procenu_najboljeg_interesa_deteta.pdf