A sixteen year old girl has been in the social protection system for almost her entire life.
The girl’s mother had had several informal marriages out of which four children were born; all of them were accommodated in the social protection institutions. The girl’s father had had another informal marriage, and got three more children. Parents of the underage girl are unemployed. The girl was born in an informal marriage, which got broken up before she was born. The mother left the girl in the hospital after birth, so the father took over to care for her. The father is a disabled war veteran, with strong psychological difficulties.
Because he was unable to take care of the girl, the father had her placed in an orphanage. The girl was place under care of the employees of the Social Protection Service until the age of 16. After she was accommodated in the orphanage, the parents were not in touch with the girl nor visited her. She stayed in the orphanage until she was 7, after which she was placed in a foster family. Parents did not want to give a statement necessary for her to be put up for adoption until 2012, when they did sign a statement that they agree for the girl to be put up for partial adoption because they were unable to take upon themselves to care for her.
From the age of seven to age 13 the girl was living in a foster family. In 2013 she reported the foster family to the competent police administration for abuse. All actions provided for by the law were undertaken, with the assistance of the Centre for Social Work, and the girl was provided adequate professional assistance at the Disciplinary Centre. With the assistance of the Disciplinary Centre and the Centre for Social Work the girl was placed into the SOS Children’s Village.
After two years, due to changes in her behaviour, at the request of the Social Protection Service, the girl was placed into the Disciplinary Centre for four months. According to the information received from the girl, changes in her behaviour followed after she got in touch with her mother and expressed desire to go back to her mother.
After the period of the whole day stay at the Disciplinary Centre was completed, Social Protection Service returned the girl to the mother who did not take care of her. Then she independently and at her own request continues to use the serviced of the Centre, though half-day stay.
Case presented by Mirela Perojević
Exspert: Alma Hadžić and Ismira Hadžić
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- Are there in the area of BiH any institutions from the social protection area to provide long term care for children from the age of 16 until they are able to live on their own
- The best interest of a 16 years ald girl
- In which way assistance could be provided to the girl, and whether the girl’s return to her mother would contribute to normal psycho-physical development of the child
- After-care strategy - empowerement of children who leave system of social protection