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Wednesday 19.06.2019 | Name days: Nils, Viktors
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Money intended for child protection used instead to pay bonuses to officials in Latvia

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUWelfare Ministry’s allocated state budget funding of EUR 619 000 was used, among other things, to pay bonuses to officials for obvious everyday tasks even though initially it was implied that employees of the ministry and State Child Protection Inspectorate (SCPI) would perform some specific tasks to prevent child and family abuse, as State Audit (SA) comments results of the 2018 financial audit.

When developing the 2018 state budget, Welfare Ministry outlined as a priority the programme On Enhancement of capacity for social-type institutions and social programmes for child rights protection. Accordingly, the ministry allocated funding of EUR 619 000 for these activities as well as IT system adaptation to help «assist child adoption and improve foster family care services». According to SA, the aforementioned amount was planned to pay employees in the ministry and SCPI.

In its audit SA concluded that only 6.6% of the allocated funding was used to pay employees for additional work. Mostly the money was used to pay different bonuses to employees from 13 of the ministry’s structural offices, including the Minister’s Office, State Secretary’s Office, Finance Management, structure fund and personnel department for employees, in which most are not involved in adoption and foster family care policy formation and implementation.

On top of that, funding was not used to pay bonuses for additional work. Most of the time, bonuses were paid for personal contribution and quality of work, payment of bonuses, as well as wages, vacation pay and vacation benefits, SA notes. For example, at least seven ministry workers have received bonus pay for cooperation with Plecs movement, which has worked in the last two years to ensure children do not end up in orphanages. Bonus pay was paid for management of problems identified by Plecs movement, opinion coordination, organization of regular meetings, as well as ensuring communication with Plecs movement for submission of proposals.

Additionally, ministry employees were paid bonuses for personal contribution and work quality, because increased intensity of work forced reorganization of the inspection in Stikli orphanage, compile results and discuss everything with the Ombudsman’s Bureau. SA auditors stress that Welfare Ministry only reacted when mass media reported information regarding significant violations at Stikli orphanage.

According to SA, it is too soon to mention any special accomplishments in foster family care. This is proven by results of an audit performed in March 2019 on efficiency of foster family care system. According to the audit, Welfare Ministry’s and State Child Protection Inspectorate’s supervision over foster family care sector is inefficient and requires serious improvements.


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