Children’s rights in Bulgaria between theory and practice
The case of the deinstitutionalization reform
Keywords:deinstitutionalization, children’s rights, action research, children in alternative care
Like many post-socialist states, following the transition to democracy, Bulgaria had to close the large institutions for children in which orphans, children with disabilities and other types of children were being raised. The so-called deinstitutionalization reform has been an important part of introducing children’s rights legislation in contemporary Bulgaria. However, it is still unclear how the consequences of the reform relate to the normative framework of child’s rights. To address this problem, we present the results of a study conducted in 2020/2021 that explores the implementation of the reform through the approach of action research. We analyse interviews with children, social workers and public officials conducted in two big cities in Bulgaria. We outline the ways and extent to which children’s rights are integrated into the professional practice of social workers and in the lives of children that are part of the reform, as well as the reasons for their violation. We conclude that there are significant contradictions between the ‘theoretical framework’ of children’s rights and their implementation in relation to the deinstitutionalization reform. The former may be seen as ‘unintended consequences’ of the reform resulting from Bulgarian society’s socio-cultural specificities.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication, with the work three months after publication simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. This acknowledgement is not automatic, it should be asked from the editors and can usually be obtained one year after its first publication in the journal.