An international conference on Child Protection Systems was held in Vilnius, at parliament house, on February 20th The topic was ‘whether the state should take on the parental role’. It was in response to concerns that draconian laws, based on those currently being questioned in the Scandinavian states, were about to be brought in.

Jura Tender was invited to give the opening address and share experiences and insights re children’s rights with reference to disability. Our activities and professionalism in working with children in Lithuania had been noted. Other speakers were Ms Ruby Harrold-Claesson , president of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights, S.B.Lindegaard regarding the situation n Denmark and F. Bellone regarding the UK. Discussions followed touching on the situation in Lithuania. The conference was chaired by V. Budnikas, president of the Lithuanian Human Rights Association.
Jura’s paper was delivered in translation by Jurgita Race, our local CEO, who presented most professionally. The paper referred to the Australian experience of the stolen generation, to the disillusion of orphanages and institutions and to the Fostering programs of today, which however still have major problems as some of the children now in foster care are third generation to experience fostering. Jura pointed out the UN Charter for children and their rights and the need for parent support if those rights are to be actualised. The situation for disability is even more difficult where parents without support often fail to cope with the 24/7 stress placed on them and families break down. The need for early and flexible support was emphasised.
The event was covered widely through the Lithuanian media.
Isabella O’Donovan will be visiting Lithuania in March, going there after attending the ABAI Autism Conference in USA.

autism services and support, australia
autism services and support, australia

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