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Zeman wants to help endangered children from presidential fund

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Prague, Aug 31 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman said yesterday he wants to provide financial help for the Klokanek project that offers temporary family care instead of the institutional one to children before they can return to their own family or before a permanent replacement family care is found for them.
The project is run by the Fund of Endangered Children. Its existence is threatened after it ran into high debts.
Zeman said he wants to help Klokanek with money from his endowment designed to repay the state debt.
He said he will invite Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova (Social Democrats, CSSD) to discuss the Klokanek project.
Zeman said his fund cannot cover the whole debt of 20 million crowns, but added that the project should get the first portion of money by the year’s end.
According to the web page, Zeman’s fund now has about 1.1 million crowns.
Marksova said other organisations dealing with similar problems should have a claim to help, too.
“If it is a fund of the president, it is naturally up to his decision. Nevertheless, I believe that other organisations should also have a chance to ask for further extraordinary subsidies from the fund,” Marksova said.
Zmean wants to talk with her mainly on an amendment to the law on the socio-legal protection of children. He says the amendment that took effect two years ago has worsened the conditions of the Fund of Endangered Children.
The government decided ten days ago that the Fund will not get an extraordinary subsidy of 20 million crowns. Marksova said the subsidy would not be fair in relation to other organisations.
At the beginning of the year, there were 28 Klokanek facilities. The figure is to be cut to 20 by the year’s end.
The press conference, at which Zeman also spoke about migration, his forthcoming visit to the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in China and other topics, took only 40 minutes because of a high temperature in the room, in which also some journalists felt uneasy.
The temperature in Prague is at some 36 degrees centigrade yesterday, which is rather unusual for the end of summer in the country.
At the conference, Zeman also said he has been diagnosed with a 40 percent loss of hearing when he badly heard one of the questions he was given. A similar situation happened at press conferences in the past months.
($1=23.999 crowns)

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