The Hungarian NGO "Család, Gyermek, Ifjúság" published an interview with Ms. Maria Herczog, sociologist, based on an article that appeared in Budapest Beacon.
A Család, Gyermek, Ifjúság Egyesület honlapja jelentette meg a cikkeg a Budapest Beacon weblap cikke alapján.
The social systems supporting children in Hungary are tragically underfinanced - says Maria Herczog. She is convinced that investment into child protection makes economic sense. Currently there are 1.8 million children , one third of whom are poor. With this data Hungary has deteriorated to the level of Romania and Bulgaria in the EU.
"The deterioration is continuous but interestingly this has no effect on politicians or on public opinion." Ms. Herczog said. She says it is worth investing in children as child poverty is the basis of devian behavior, dependency and criminality. "Investment in children pays off", she says. "By avoiding public spending or investing resources, we are in fact giving up our future."
Last year 23,400 children were taken out of their family in Hungary. Whether this happens is quite random: some cases would require action and there is none, while in other cases it is the reverse. Institutions welcoming these children have abhorrable conditions. While the law says 45 children to each pedagogue, according to an Ombudsman's inquiry in Szigetszentmiklos there were 150 children for each professional - because the local government was trying to save money. If the child gets to foster parents, her life may be in the exact same financial conditions as within her family, because the salary of foster parents is also quite low.
In the long run this system is very vasteful. A child that does not get his hearing aid becomes a "problem child" as he will not hear the instruction at school. Same goes for glasses. Because foster parents are not paid enough, they are "motivated" to agree to more children they can possibly care for appropriately. This becomes an issue for children who already suffer from emotional and physical neglect.