Children who are placed in institutions for the education of children and youth are among the most vulnerable people in society. They often come from marginalized and vulnerable segments of the population and are exposed to a number of limitations such as the risk of abuse and neglect, extreme poverty, mental health problems, etc. This is a very sensitive area where children’s rights are often violated, and the response is not always child-friendly or supportive of their individual development. They belong to the most stigmatized group of children in society, and due to the numerous prejudices they face at all levels, they are often exposed to public criticism, especially in cases of serious crimes.
They usually come from dysfunctional families, and their actions are the result of years of neglect and lack of support since early childhood. Regardless of whether they are criminally responsible children who have committed criminal acts, children who are not criminally responsible, or children who have not committed a criminal act but are placed in institutions due to neglect by their parents or guardians, they face behavioral difficulties and multiple developmental challenges and disorders, including mental health disorders, and therefore require significant and specialized support from qualified educators, psychologists, pedagogues and similar professionals. Due to this combination of different risk factors and the extreme vulnerability of this group of children, justice and social protection systems play a key role in protecting their rights. However, they often do not receive timely and individualized support, the system’s response is not always adapted to the child, and the child’s rights are often violated.
With the aim of improving the mental health of children in the Institute for Children and Youth in Belgrade, the CRC implements the project “Supporting the wellbeing of children and youth and education about children’s rights” with the financial support of donors International Women’s Club (IWC).
The project started on May 1, 2023 and will last until December 31, 2023. The project has two main components: workshops with children from the Institute for Children and Youth in Belgrade and children from the Children’s Informational and Cultural Service at the CRC, and a campaign on social networks to raise awareness of the many problems children perpetrators of criminal acts face and reduce stigmatization.