Preventive, Interventive and Therapeutic Protection for Children

Figen Özbek
Turkish Foundation for Children in Need of Protection, Chairman of the Board and Board of Trustees

Since its establishment to the present, the Turkish Foundation for Children in Need of Protection has maintained our country’s activities regarding children in need of protection in public and community relations in accordance with its official memorandum.

Having gained practical experience by providing long-term services to more than 400 children for the more than 40 years it has been in operation in the field of children in need of protection, our foundation conducts its efforts with new projects that ensure prevention for children’s protective needs that haven’t formed, intervention in cases where protective needs have formed, and monitoring and rehabilitation in cases where protection needs have departed, all in accordance with the social policies of the time.

240 children in need of protection and the families of some of these children have directly benefited from our foundation’s various service programs in 2020. We strive to ensure that children whose basic needs and access to education are at risk are able to be protected based on their rights, are raised with love and trust, and are integrated into society as healthy, strong, self-confident, responsible individuals who create value.

In June and July when we accepted student applications, our foundation received an average of 500 student applications a week from 41 different provinces across Turkey, evaluated 320 students who met the stipulations, and enrolled 87 new students for receiving services from student dormitories in October 2020.

170 children between the ages of 9-18 received free services in 2020 in the two Children in Need of Protection Villages in İstanbul’s Arnavutköy-Bolluca and İzmir’s Urla districts. These children are supported from middle school to university without any academic success prerequisites. Programs are carried out with intensive academic contributions and artistic, cultural, and sports activities.

With the rise of the global pandemic in the spring of 2020, basic necessities such as food, clothing, educational materials, tablets, computers, and televisions were sent to the families of the children we serve.

We mobilized our facilities in the Elazığ and İzmir earthquakes for AFAD’s local-level operational plans by opening additional quotas in our dormitories.

Through the Semi-Independent Living Program, needs-specific programs have continued on issues such as education scholarships and housing support to our children who are just beginning to take on responsibility within society, dowry support for those getting married, military allowances for those going to the military, and legal support. 14 young people benefitted from the Yarı Bağımsız Yaşam Programı [Semi-Independent Living Program] in 2020.

We signed a service protocol in 2020 with the Ministry of Justice with the aim of improving the educational and living environment of children between the ages of 12-18 staying in Prisons and Detention Houses. The protocol covers activities such as in-kind and in-cash supports for children, access to education and social integration. As a foundation, we’ve initiated our efforts to provide services to mothers who stay in prisons with their dependent children aged 0-6 within the scope of our protocol. 40 students staying in Prisons and Detention Houses in 2020 received cash support from our foundation.

Studies have been carried out under the grant project we have called “Return to the Family,” which we received from our Homestay Support Program and the European Union Ministry, on the problem areas experienced in the process of children who have been institutionalized returning to their family. Through the International Symposium we held in December 2020, we completed our project under the grant by meeting with good representatives from Europe as well as members and employees of public institutions, universities, and non-governmental organizations operating in the field. 30 children have been supported alongside their families in 2020 within the scope of the program and project. 

Our foundation provides scholarships and foster-family support to children who need access to pre-school education in day care home facilities; we are committed to protecting the children of veterans and those who died in duty by offering them freer pre-school education. 27 students benefitted from our unit in 2020.

The summit on “Access to Justice and the Pandemic Process in the Context of Children’s Rights”,  held in 2020 by the Platform for Protecting Children and Their Rights, which was established through the initiatives of our foundation, enabled discussions on Turkey by world experts in the field of legislation and application as well as research reports to be shared with the public.

Transforming our activities, projects, and research focused on children in need of protection into public collaborations and public policies over time contributes to improving and developing our country’s social policies. The Children’s Village model, which we were the first to implement in our country for this purpose, has inspired the spread of the Children’s Houses Site service model, where children who’ve been taken under protection are prepared for life in small care units.

Strengthening public and non-governmental collaborations is necessary for speeding social improvement for the public good in social policy areas such as access to education and inequality of opportunity in education, child brides, child laborers, child dropouts, domestic violence, exploitation, unaccompanied children, missing children, and treating children with substance addictions.

Our hope is that our foundation’s collaborations with the public for the benefit of society will continue to serve as a model for non-governmental organizations in our country.

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