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Minister criticizes state child care institutions’ funding system

Jānis Reirs/flickr.com.
It would be worth considering a change of funding models for child care institutions to make funding independent of the number of clients and prevent the interest  towards sending children from one institution to another based solely on available funding, says Latvian Welfare Minister Jānis Reirs in an interview to Rīta panorama on Thursday, 8 February.

The minister says that the least socially protected children in Latvia are subjected to a «carousel system». This system revolves around putting children in orphanages that receive state funding for each child. However, orphanages can send children away to boarding schools and still continue receiving funding. Boarding schools are also paid state funding. In addition, the boarding school, while being provided with funding for each child, can also send youngsters to psycho-neurological hospitals for treatment. The hospitals are also paid funding from Healthcare Ministry. With such a funding system, institutions are not motivated to do any actual work with children, rather just send them away and still receive money for them, the minister explains.

As for the violations that were uncovered in Ainazi psycho-neurological hospital, Reirs mentioned that many of the children put into that hospital never required assistance to begin with.

«I see one very big problem here. I have yet to hear any solutions […]. For example, solutions for us to cease sending to hospitals children with behaviour problems but no psychological disorders,» said the minister.

According to the minister, Ainazi hospital was filled specifically to preserve funding.

«Perhaps it is worth making sure such an important field [psycho-neurology] is provided funding regardless of the number of patients to avoid the interest to send children toss from one place from another,» said the minister.


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