- June 12, 2012
Podlasie Region | Polish children from Lithuania will come on holidays
Polish children from Lithuanian children’s homes who were spending Christmas and holidays staying with Polish families from Bialystok will have possibility to come to Poland again. “Open home” Association from Bialystok was given a permission by Lithuanian authorities to host children.
Polish Press Agency was informed by Irena Stankiewicz, the chairman of Association about that. The organization was given a 3 years permission issued by the State Office of Children’ Rights Protection and Adoption – the Department of Ministry of Social Policy in Lithuania to “perform the hospitable stay project in Poland”.
It includes the children at the age of 7 and more. Their parents were deprived of parental authority.
Stankiewicz said that “as a result of the contract with the children’s homes in Podbrodzie and Niemenczyn, children from these establishments will have opportunity to come on holidays to Podlasie”. She also said that collecting documents took three months as translations of documents to Lithuanian language for example, were necessary.
The families who want to host children were also obliged to deliver many documents such as psychologist’s opinion, official documents certifying that a given family has enough rooms and can afford to host the children.
Now, the organization prepares everything to be ready for the holiday project. Children could spend time in Poland at the summer camps organized by Caritas or with Polish families.
Elzbieta Kosinska, one of the project co-ordinators informed Polish Press Agency that Polish families who could host children from Lithuania are still needed.
The Association found out about problems with children’s arrival to Poland just before Easter. It turned out that this is a result of new Lithuanian provisions which had changed the rules of inviting children to Poland.
Maciej Zywno, the provincial governor of Podlaskie Region is also engaged in the case. He visited the children’s home in Podbrodzie, Lithuania in April. Help opportunities with the management, Association of Poles in Lithuania representatives and Polish Embassy were discussed.
It was commonly settled that the Government Office in Bialystok will draw up the children’s arrival procedure by way of each interested party consultancy. The Office also helped with documents translation.
“It was worth to go to Lithuania during the Holy Week and help to release the subject and establish procedures as well as to support documents translation. I keep my fingers crossed for the Association and the hole initiative” – said Maciej Zywno, the provincial governor to the Polish Press Agency.
Bialystok “Open House” Association which ensures help to Polish children in East, has been organizing Polish children from Lithuania arrivals for over a dozen years now. So far, the children from Podbrodzie, Niemenczyn, Nowa Wilejka in Lithuania have been spending Christmas, Easter and summer holidays with Polish families living in Podlasie. It was always about 40 children.
During these stays children could participate in excursion to Warsaw for example. The medical care including dental care were also ensured by the Association.
Press office of Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed Polish Press Agency that the changes concerning the children brought up in a children’s home departure outside the establishment were introduced on 28th of December last year. The decision was made by Lithuanian Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed that according to Lithuanian party the amendments of provisions were made as “ there were signals about improprieties which took place during previous periodical stays of children including stays with families”. Not only Poland but also Italy and Germany were parts of the project.
The amendments refer to children’s departures both abroad as well as on Lithuania territory. Families who would like to host children for temporary stays shall be granted a special permission in the Lithuanian Ministry and only then they can enter directly into agreements with particular children houses in Lithuania. The provisions do not cover organized departures along with a caregiver of a given children’s home.
Tłumaczenie Dorota Szewczyk-Madejewska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Dorota Szewczyk-Madejewska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.