Essay The Government Role in The Day Care Services Development in
Latvia is a country that is moving from the Soviet style of socialism
to a democratic government and a market-based economy. The country
ratified its participation in the United Nations Convention on the
Rights of the Child in 1992. Activities connected to the ratification by
the Latvian legislature has created an impressive database on current
conditions for Latvian children. The change from socialism has been
difficult when measured by the availability of services provided to
children in need. The following information is taken from the 1998
Alternative Report to the United Nations by the Latvian Save The
The number of families below the minimum subsistence level has risen to
85% in 1996 compared to 15% in 1991. This decrease in family incomes has
affected the quality of family life in Latvia. In 1996, only 20% of the
children are in good health. Such diseases as tuberculosis, rheumatism,
diphtheria and tick encephalitis have spread rapidly. Juvenile crime,
alcoholism, narcotic drug addiction and prostitution have risen sharply.
As a result, more and more children are abandoned, physically or
sexually abused, become pregnant or homeless.
Services to support children who are at risk are virtually non-existent.
The government of Latvia is under tremendous pressure to balance its
budget. It is a struggle to maintain existing human services and it is
impossible for the government to fund new services. The existence of a
sizable population of abandoned, abused, handicapped and homeless
children is only now beginning to be officially recognized.
The network of social services that Canadians take for granted does
simply not yet exist in Latvia. The government is working to develop
these services, but the pressures of the national budget and difficult
economic situation have brought any progress to a standstill.
The government budget is made from private sector taxes and it is
diverted to municipal governments and then channeled to social services.
Every year amount which is channeled to the social services is
different, because of pressures of the national budget and difficult
economic situation. These social services are merit good when society
members are refusing to have some amount of their own money for giving
it to preschool and other Latvia’s children. This leads to situation
where people who are using private day care services instead of
municipal are paying again.
Also current situation in Latvia is that you have to wait on a line for
a years to get officially in a municipal day care center, at the same
time municipal government are abolishing existing day care services
because of money shortage. This leads to situation where people have to
use their private money and they are having two choices whether send
their children to private day care centers or have a baby-sitter to look
after them. Practically it means that our social service system is not
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