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Most Czechs say infants’ homes harm children

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Prague, May 14 (CTK) – Most Czechs (87 percent) share the view that the present infants’ homes for abandoned babies under three years have a negative impact on their development, according to a Median agency’s poll that the Association of Child and Family released on the International Day of Families on Monday.

Seven out of ten believe that the negative consequences are permanent, the poll showed. The opinion that children raised in infants’ homes behave in a different way than other children prevails.

According to more than two thirds of the respondents, abandoned babies can be placed in different facilities that offer better conditions to them than infants’ homes.

At the same time, most people consider infants’ homes a necessary part of care for abandoned babies, although they do not perceive these facilities as the best alternative.

Only 8 percent said abandoned babies should be primarily placed in infants’ homes. Markedly more people said abandoned children should be adopted or raised by their relatives.

The poll showed that people think babies mostly end up in infants’ home because a court decided on it, but in fact 81 percent of the babies end up there based on a request made by their parents.

In 2012, the Czech government approved a national strategy that banned sending children under the age of three into institutional care as of 2014. As of 2016, the ban should have applied to children up to the age of six, according to the strategy. But this plan has not been implemented.

Current Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jaroslava Nemcova (ANO) does not plan to introduce the ban either, arguing that it is difficult to find a family for all the abandoned children. She said adoptive or foster parents should be found for most of the children and that big institutions should be replaced with small facilities for a few children that would operate more like a family.

In 2016, 27 facilities for abandoned children under three and one child centre operated in the Czech Republic and 1559 children ended up in them.

The Association of Child and Family said the Czech Republic is the last country in Europe in which children under three may be sent to an institution to be raised.

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