NEWS

Welfare

The latest report by the Children’s Ombudsman lambasted state support for children and families. «Welfare and child protection in Greece lag far behind and do not cover ever-growing needs,» it stated, listing the following shortcomings: Psychosocial services are not properly staffed or specialized in dealing with serious family problems. Prefectural services are burdened with various responsibilities and are not adequate to take action in support of children and their families. Social services offered by municipalities are virtually inactive for lack of funds. Juvenile prosecutors have a heavy workload and are not backed by social services, even though this is required by law. Public child support foundations are understaffed and not governed by a system of specifications and accreditation, while church organizations are not certified and not inspected by anyone. The training and supervision of welfare staff is very backward, especially concerning respect for children’s rights. Although Law 2447/96 makes provision for them, there are no family courts where judges deal solely with family cases and have special training in dealing with children. There are serious shortcomings in services for investigating and diagnosing abuse, while there is no national center or system for identifying and tracking child abuse in Greece. Juvenile offenders often suffer physical abuse at police stations.