- State Audit Office of Latvia - http://www.lrvk.gov.lv/en/ -

Press Statement by the Auditor General and the Ombudsman on the Situation in Out-of-Family Care and the Need for Immediate Change

The State Audit Office and the Ombudsman are independent institutions with different mandates and research methods. However, the two institutions have come to similar conclusions having carried out two independent studies on the efficiency of the out-of-family care system. Apart from the shortcomings stated by the Ombudsman in the out-of-family care system, the State Audit Office also concludes after the audit made that the officials with key responsibility of ensuring that children left without parental care do not become “second-class people” but can realize their personal potential like the children born and grown up in a family do not always fulfil their official duties in good faith and allow situations where the law is infringed.

The conclusions of both institutions prove that hiding inaction and neglect is impossible, as the responsible ones can be identified. The system is often blamed, but the system consists of specific people, and specific officials make the decisions. The system is not something abstract, but it is the consequence of the actions or inaction of the responsible officials.

The audit report of the State Audit Office stated the following facts about the current situation in the out-of-family care system, which coincide with the findings of the Ombudsman:

The above clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of the situation and legal nihilism, which can and will lead to irreversible, even severe consequences for the children left without parental care. Moreover, awareness raising alone cannot bring about positive change because a reform of the system protecting the children’s rights is needed.

The State Audit Office and the Ombudsman unanimously believe that the existing system of protecting the children’s rights and the system of out-of-family care should be reformed. The current model of subordination of Orphan’s courts to local governments has not proved its efficiency in protecting children’s rights. At the same time, the inefficient supervision of the Orphan’s courts by the State Inspectorate for Protection of Children’s Rights and inefficient supervision of social service providers by the Ministry of Welfare can also be clearly seen.

We believe that the state must make decisive decisions and take crucial steps in reforming the system of protection of children’s rights, and this reform may not be suspended any longer. It is unacceptable that children’s fates continue to be distorted. Therefore, we call on the government to launch a reform of the system for the protection of children’s rights!