CENTRE PLUS NEWS Social issues
No. 8, 2013
SOCIAL SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN Family with preschool-age children often faces financial difficulties in order to ensure their full learning process. A child`s benefit could be provided in these situations. Pupils who study according to general education shall be entitled to free meals and provision of school supplies if the average monthly income per family member does not exceed 1,5 amounts of state supported income (SSI). Since year 2008, SSI is 350 LTL. However, in cases of illness, accident, or if the parents are raising three or more children, or disabled people are rising children together, students are entitled to free meals if the average income per person per month is less than twice income support. In these listed cases students may be eligible for free meals during the summer holidays in summer camps at schools. It is amounting from 1.2 to 7 percent of the basic social benefit (it is equal to 130 LTL) to buy products for free meals. Meanwhile, support for school supplies is 120 percent of the basic social benefits amount per pupil per calendar year.
of municipality in which you live. There you have to fill a Government approved application form and attach the required documents, listed in Article 20 of the Law on Social Benefit for Poor, with the exception of documents on co-residents or a single personâ€™s property. For more information: http://www.istatymas. lt/istatymai/pinigines_socialines_ paramos_mazas_pajamas_gaunanWhere you shall apply for a cioms_seimoms_istatymas.htm. child`s social benefit? You shall To apply for free meals you can contact the municipal administration of your declared living place, at administration of school in which and if the place of residence is un- studies your child or which organreported, then to the administration izes summer camp.
In order to get free meals from the beginning of the new school year and benefit for student`s supplies, you can apply from the 1st of July in every year. To apply for free meals during the summer holidays at school`s summer camp, you can from the 1st of May. More information parents and children can always get from social educators working at schools. Social educators evaluate and help to solve problems with a variety of difficulties that face children: they work with children addicted to alcohol, drugs, experiencing
sexual and physical abuse, also perform preventive programs of selfexpression, learning motivation, attendance to school, emotional and behavioural and other problems. Social educators help parents to ed-
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ucate their children, to understand the social and psychological needs of them and the importance of a better understanding of children with developmental problems and needs, they explain parents about their rights and responsibilities and
inform parents of their right to social and educational assistance. It is very important to maintain a close relationship with the social pedagogues in order to ensure the sustainable development of children.
IMMIGRANTS` CHILDREN LEGAL RESIDENCY IN LITHUANIA
Immigration or moving to another country for temporarily or permanently living is stressful to everyone and requires efforts to adapt to a new country. The decision of adults particularly touches children. Sometimes parents going to a foreign country forget that their children acquire an immigrant status and their presence in the country should be legalized. First of all it is necessary to know that an alien entering into the Republic of Lithuania and being here, regardless of age, must have a valid travel document, which, crossing the external borders of the European Union, or the internal borders of the European Union, when control of the border is temporarily renewed, must provide at a border control post. The next important thing that each foreign citizen, if he wants to live in Lithuania for more than three months in half a year, must obtain a temporary residence permit. According to Law on the Legal Status of Aliens of the Republic of Lithuania, temporary residence permits may be issued to children living in the Republic of Lithuania if their parents or one of them who are citizens of the Republic of Lithuania are residing in the Republic of Lithuania. The arrival of family members to live with a foreigner
who lives in Lithuania having a temporary residence permit is not easy. An alien whose family members come to family reunification must be living in Lithuania for the last 2 years and have at least one year temporary residence permit and have reasonable prospects of obtaining the right of permanent residence in the Republic of Lithuania. It is necessary to submit these documents: a valid travel document,
family ties supporting documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, if your name or last name have been changed - documents confirming the exchange of personal data), a document confirming that the alien has sufficient funds or his parents receive a regular income, today the amount is 1,000 LTL (for children 50 percent of the total), a document that he owns a place of accommodation in the Republic of Lithuania or uses accommodation upon a contract of lease or a loan for use contract, provided that the
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duration of the relevant contract is not shorter than the period of validity of the temporary residence permit and has been registered in the established manner, or presents an undertaking of a natural or legal person to provide him with a place of residence for the period of validity of the temporary residence permit, approved in the manner established by legal acts, a valid document evidencing he has sickness insurance coverage when in the cases established by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania he is not covered by compulsory health insurance, or in the cases and according to the procedure established by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania he has the confirmed
commitment of a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania or an alien residing in the Republic of Lithuania to pay the charges for the health care services provided to him during his residence in the Republic of Lithuania. If an alien is applying to the Consular office and does not intend to arrive to Lithuania until the examination of an application for a permit and the decision to issue a temporary residence permit is proof, then a health insurance document valid for the period of alien’s stay in the Republic of Lithuania, can be submitted when applying for a temporary residence permit formalization.
Particular attention should be given to a child who was born to a foreigner during the time of living in Lithuania: within three months of the child’s birth date it is must apply to the immigration office for the residence permit for a child. A child who was born to a foreigner during the time of living in Lithuania gets the same type residence permit as both of parents, or one of them. This authorization is valid for the period of validity of one of the child’s parent residence permit. Take care of your children legal residency in Lithuania, because regardless of age an alien`s presence is illegal, when he is in the Republic of Lithuania without a valid travel document!
PSYCHOLOGICAL DIFFICULTIES OF IMMIGRANT CHILDREN
It is very difficult to speak about the psychological problems of immigrant children, because the child’s experience, adaptation, and difficulties highly depend on his age. Physical, cognitive and emotional development in childhood is very fast and every stage of development has different characteristics. Therefore, making the decision to move it is worth to find, what characterizes the development phase of a child, what the most important needs and peculiarities of the development will emerge at that age, and will be important in the situation of migration.
Adaptation success will be more likely to children who moved to a new country with their parents in early childhood or were born in a new country. This is the so-called “the second generation”, whose results in studies and career achievements are usually better than their parents, who were the “the first
generation” of migrants. Research in some countries (Canada, Australia, USA) even suggest that “the second generation” of immigrants achieve higher education and take more good job positions than their peers from local families. Of course, adaptation of children who moved to a new country with their parents in early childhood or were
born in a new country depends on many other factors, such as country of origin, family structure. It is much easier for children whose one of the parents is local, as well as to those, who speak the local language at home. On the other hand, very small children could cause certain
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restrictions. Close, stable and secure contacts with the parents, permanent care of the same person is particularly important in infancy and early childhood. It is important not only because of child`s physical needs, but also because of the psychological needs: in these periods develops the ability to tie up and forms the childâ€™s sense of the self, which is highly important in the later development of childâ€™s personality and his interaction with others. So it is important to ensure that the domestic, financial and other significant concerns which often fall on parents in a new country will not be an obstacle to meet the important psychological needs of the baby.
difficult not only to study efficiently but also to communicate and make friends with peers. Socializing outside the family, especially contacts with peers are particularly important for older children and teenagers. It is especially painful for them to experience isolation, misunderstanding, rejection and bullying among peers. The child who does not speak the language, is from a different cultural environment is at a higher risk to experience that, so he could face a painful loneliness and the sense of isolation.
Nonetheless, studies show that children, whose parents keep in touch with them and meet their specific development needs, can successfully adapt in the migration situation. It turns out that it is important, how the child is aware of his immediate environment, his family and how the child sees it from his subjective perspective, how he feels with his parents. If an internal family picture is positive, immigrant children feel and behave no worse than their peers.
A bigger risk to experience much more difficulties of adaptation face children who come to a new country in older age. Research show that the older children arrive, the lower their academic achievements and higher percentage of drop outs of school. These trends can be explained by the fact that for older children it takes longer to learn the language and that makes
LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN OF FOREIGNERS IN LITHUANIA: ETHNO-CULTURAL CONTEXT Because of the growing number of immigrants, several laws which cover the education of foreign children who come to Lithuania have already been enacted. Foreigners, who do not speak Lithuanian language, before starting their formal education at school, have possibility to study Lithuanian for a year in equalizing classes or mobile groups. These studies are regulated by the Oder of Ministry of Education and Science No. ISAK1800 (01/09/2005).
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Vilnius Lithuanian`s House welcomes only foreigners of Lithuanian origin, but Ministry of Education and Science could make an exception for a child of non-Lithuanian origin as well (without financial support). Students who do not speak Lithuanian have to study Lithuanian in an equalizing class for a year, where Lithuanian language shall be taught ONLY in Lithuanian language. Information about Vilnius Lithuanian`s House you can find in English language at http://www. lietuviunamai.vilnius.lm.lt/index_ files/eng_info.htm or in Russian http://www.lietuviunamai.vilnius. lm.lt/index_files/rus_info.pdf . If you want your children to study in English, there are two private English schools in Vilnius today: American International School (for English-speaking children from kindergarten to 12-year-olds) and Vilnius International School (for English-speaking children from 3to 16- year-olds). As a short-term alternative could be an exchange program Youth For Understanding (paid), which gives an opportunity for 15-18-year-olds foreign students of high schools to came for a few weeks, months, or for all academic year to Lithuania and to get know the Lithuanian culture or to learn or improve their basketball skills.
example, nurseries “Šaltinėlis” and “Raktelis” are trilingual (Lithuanian - Russian - Polish). Vilnius Sofia Kovalevskaja School provides primary, lower secondary, upper secondary and special education programs in Russian and Vilnius Vladislavo Sirokomlės School provides the same programs in Polish). If your children are studying in a state school of general education, they can choose ethnic culture lessons provided at schools free of charge. If your children would like to attend ethno cultural activities after school, organized by the Youth Centre or Students Expression Center in city Klaipėda, Kaunas Children and Students Leisure Palace, Panevėžys Students House, Šiauliai Students House, Lithuanian Children and Youth Centre in city Vilnius, Lithuanian students center of non-formal education, various art and music schools, then you should pay for these services from 20 to 50 LTL per month. Meanwhile, activities in private clubs or studios cost
about 200 LTL per month. Participation in ethno cultural activities helps young people to feel connected with other, to understand and to accept non-verbal communication, also better understand themselves and other people, to gain more information about the world around them. It is likely that a better understanding of Lithuanian culture and traditions will help your children easier to integrate into Lithuanian socio-cultural environment. So we recommend you and your children to participate in ethno-cultural events. Lithuanian Ethnic Culture Society informs about events in different cities. What is on in Vilnius you can find on websites: http://www.etno.lt/index.php/ en , http://www.pavilniai-verkiai.lt/ lt/etnokulturiniai-ir-aplinkosauginiai-renginiai , http://www.vilniusevents.lt/en (in English.) and http:// www.vilnius-events.lt/ru (in Russian).
Meanwhile, it is a lot easier and cheaper (at least in Vilnius) to find a nursery or school for children who speak Russian or Polish. For
Law issues LEGISLATION COVERING THE RIGHTS OF IMMIGRANTS` CHILDREN Basic and the most relevant ties of children and parents are legislation, which covers the legal divided into 3 groups: status of aliens, family relationship, the rights and responsibili At the level of the Council
of Europe the most important universal international law is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Convention
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for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. During the first years of independence LR focused on conclusion of bilateral and trilateral treaties on legal assistance and legal agreements. Nowadays such agreements, which include family relationship, and provide the order of recognition and performance of legal decisions, are concluded with thirteen countries, including Belarus, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Moldova, China, Poland, Latvia and Estonia. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 3, Paragraph 1 provides that in all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private institutions, social welfare, courts, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the most important is the childâ€™s best interests. LR Child Protection Act Article 4, paragraph 1, point 1 highlights, that every-
where and always first of all must be taken into account the legitimate interests of the child. The principle of the priority of childrenâ€™s rights and interest is established in Lithuanian legal system, which means that both legislation and its application, and other issues which are not regulated by law, always must be evaluated and the decision taken according to the childâ€™s interests and it is must ensure that they are not damaged.
Regardless of whether the child is a foreign national (permanently or temporarily residing in the Republic of Lithuania), or has the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania, but both his parents or one of them is a foreigner - the interests of child must be protected and the principle of priority of children rights and interests shall not be damaged.
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One of the most important rights is the right to education. Constitution Article 41 provides not only the right of children to education, but also a duty for children up to 16 years to study, and the child’s parents or other caregivers have to take measures to enforce the law. The education at state and municipal comprehensive schools, vocational and post-secondary
schools is free, so you cannot justify the failure to comply children’s right and responsibility to study up to 16 years with a severe economic situation of family. There are 1242 schools in Lithuania, over 1,000 of them teach in Lithuanian language, 55 in Polish language, 32 in Russian, 1 school in Belarusian, French, German and Jew, also there are one or two mixed
schools. So, foreigners may choose in what language to study. More information on children rights (including immigrant children) could be found on the website of Institution of the Ombudsman for Children’s Rights of the Republic of Lithuania http:// www3.lrs.lt/pls/inter/vaikai , as well as at municipal services for the protection of children’s rights.
Other CASE STUDY ON DAY-CARE CENTERS FOR PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN Citizens of different countries both the European Union and third-country nationals immigrate to Lithuania. Migrants come with different marital status: married, single or divorced. Also arrive families with young children. These families face more difficulties: in addition to problems of the migration process they have to decide, what to do with a child, for example, when parents have to work.
Not everyone has a grandmother or a close friend to ask to look after the baby in a foreign country. According to numerous requests from our clients at Center PLUS, we have decided to find free day-care centers for pre-school age children of immigrant workers. Contacting with similar organizations in Vilnius, we faced a problem: the city has a lot of facilities for children from 7 years old, where they can spend time with their peers under the supervision of tutors, but we did not find day care centers, which would be ready to take pre-school children.
There are private centers in
Vilnius, but not all are able to pay for such services. do not have possibility to take their children to a kindergarten, but also So the problem remains: are not able to give enough attenwhat to do immigrant families who tion to their child because of work?
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We can only provide information for parents of older children. There is a choice of day care centers, where children can spend time after school or during holidays, but there is nothing for preschool children. The addresses of day care centers, where children (from 7 years old) will be able to spend their time: • Order of Malta Contacts: Gedimino pr.56b Tel; +370 5 2497304. E-mail: info@ maltiečiai.lt • Social Support Center in Vilnius Contacts: Kauno str. 3/26Tel.: +370 5 2310528. E-mail: info@spcentras. lt Finally, we would like to say that this is only temporary troubles for immigrant families. The main thing they have found and it is the happiness, because children are the flowers of our life!
The newspaper is published, implementing the project “Consultation and information centre PLUS” according the European Fund for the Integration of third-country nationals, annual Programme 2011
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