Children have the right to protection from violence and neglect, and to grow up in a family environment; however, many children in Croatia, particularly children with development difficulties, grow up in institutions.
UNICEF promotes, advocates and actively works towards the realisation of family care and the provision of support for the development of improved forms of family care, particularly foster care. As part of the process of deinstitutionalisation and the transformation of the social care system, UNICEF provides support to the Croatian Government and the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth. The aim is to improve the quality of foster care by providing support and education to foster families and supporting the development of specialised foster care, including fostering for children with developmental difficulties.
Bullying has long been recognised as a problem. In order to address this issue, as early as 2003, UNICEF launched a new programme, which was later accepted by other countries as one of the most successful models for the prevention of bullying.
Children also require protection when they become involved with the justice system as either a victim, witness or perpetrator of a criminal activity. Therefore, UNICEF, in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, started the process of adjusting the justice system to meet the needs and requirements of children.
Safe and enabling school environment for children
The refugee and migrant crisis that has shaken Europe has affected a large number of children. Many of them have witnessed the horrors of war, which will leave an indelible mark on them as they grow up. UNICEF, together with its partners, has been active since the first day of the crisis in providing support to mothers and children.