Efficiency Problems of Child Protection in Lithuania
This article identifies the main problems which have negative impact on efficiency of child protection. The article is based on case analysis of 203 families at social risk carried out in 2015–2016 and on qualitative interviews of 23 children growing in families at social risk which were conducted in 2016–2017. The content and context analysis are performed of the basis of this data. The protection procedures starting with reports to the Department of Child Rights’ Protection, case investigations, application of relevant interventions and finally evaluation of help efficiency are reconstructed. The principles of effective child protection distinguished by Eileen Munro has been chosen as the basis of the evaluation and identification of the main barrier to the efficient child protection. It has been identified that the process of practical protection is not centred on the child’s problems and needs, but it only focuses on the parents’ problems. Children are not sufficiently enabled to participate in their own protection process. Majority of the neglected and abused children are not helped because they are not listened to and their experiences are ignored, although 5 institutional professionals are “working” with the family. The fragments of social work with child has been found only among the experiences of the children attending Children’s Care Day Centres. It can be certainly stated that there is clear lack of services for children. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the Children’s Day Care Centres, to find possibilities to finance social workers and psychologists to work with children, since only family (adults) centred protection is not effective. It is recommended to improve the training of child care specialists and raise the professional level of those in practice.