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Number of child emergency help centres trebles in ten years

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Prague, July 24 (CTK) – The number of facilities providing immediate aid to children in need has more than trebled during the past ten years and their capacity is even 11 times higher, according to the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry’s statistics.

As from the end of 2014, there were 88 such facilities with 1278 beds in the Czech Republic with a population of 10.5 million, compared with 27 facilities with 115 beds in 2005.

The immediate aid facilities admit maltreated, abused, neglected and otherwise threatened children. At the end of last year, 783 boys and girls stayed in them based on court decision.

A few years ago, the ministry decided to change the rules guiding the facilities’ operation and to adjust the state subsidies paid to the children placed in them in an effort to slow down the quickly growing spending on the facilities amid the economic crisis.

The ministry also decided to give greater support to foster care in families.

Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova (Social Democrats, CSSD) says both foster parents and the facilities for children are needed.

“They are facilities for crisis situations and negotiations with the regions show that the service is needed. I would not dare to say one institution should be reduced at the cost of the other,” Marksova said Friday.

The state has paid 22,800 crowns to the operators per child monthly since mid-2012. No money is provided for the days the children spend outside the facility.

Before 2012, the facilities were paid 10.8 times subsistence level per child per month, which amounted to 17,280 to 24,300 crowns depending on the child’s age in 2011.

Immediate care for children in need is provided by 30 facilities operated by regions, four were run by municipalities and 54 by NGOs and other entities last year.

The number of the facilities and the costs involved were quickly increasing in the past years. The 66 million crowns that the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry spent on the facilities in 2008 rose to almost 200 million in 2011.

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