Labour and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrovic on Monday outlined a reform of the social welfare system which will be conducted to make it better and more transparent system that can provide beneficiaries with a quality service in their local communities.
The comprehensive reform of the social welfare system includes seven legislative solutions and three national plans directed to combat poverty, develop social services and provide equal opportunities for disabled persons.
The Social Welfare Act will bring numerous changes as well as. The law on foster parenting will be amended to deal with certain challenges which seem to be increasing in intensity recently while the other five legislative solutions relate to regulations in the profession.
The package set of laws foresees HRK 1.2 billion more in funding for a two-year period that will be allocated for the social welfare system, Minister Aladrovic said.
HRK 362 million has been secured for the Law on Social Welfare for 2022 and in 2023, that amount should be doubled, he said.
The intention is for the law to reduce the risk of poverty and so the base to calculate guaranteed minimum allowances will be increased from HRK 800 to HRK 1,000 in 2022.
The reform also proposes a single methodology to calculate the price of services.
Services are now provided through 82 social welfare centres, and given that this fragmented system has proved to be faulty, we consider that it needs to be centralised so that services are standardized throughout Croatia.
The bill on social welfare proposes the establishment of the Family Center as an independent institution, which will require new employment and forming an appeals commission for citizens’ complaints as of 1 January 2022.
Aladrovic commented on criticism of the intention to further centralize the system, saying that this was the only fragmented system and that he wishes to unify procedures in various social welfare centers through a single central institution.
The proposed amendments to the law on foster care foresee increasing allowances by 15 to 60 per cent for foster care parents and more flexible conditions for foster parenting in an effort to popularise foster care which is considered to be the best form of institutionalized care.
The reform ensues following one of the most difficult health and economic crises that have affected us, and given the latest circumstances, it is aimed at improving social relations which have deteriorated partially due to the pandemic but also due to the challenges we have been faced with in recent times, said Minister Aladrovic.