Standards of Practice

Child Protection Policy,

The document complies with the document of the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb   (https://www.poliklinika-djeca.hr/category/english/about/standards-of-practice/ )

BHIDAPA –Interdisciplinary Therapeutic Child, Youth and Family Protection Center

Emerika Bluma 9

71 000 Sarajevo

Rules for the protection of children

(Child Protection Policy)

 

The aim of this document is to outline the rules of legal, professional and ethically based practices in BHIDAPA – and, with the aim of protecting children against exposure to violence, abuse and neglect, or in risk, and in their best interest

It is based on:

  • the applicable legal regulations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • on relevant knowledge about all forms of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional), neglect and exposure to family and peer violence in children and young people as well as the consequences for children.
  • on professional knowledge about the traumatization of children and youth and knowledge based on evidence of diagnostic and treatment / therapy with traumatized children, young people and their families.

BHIDAPA was established with the aim of protecting children, young people and families through the following activities:

  • education of experts in the field of child and adolescent integrative psychotherapy and psychotherapy counseling, techniques and skills in working with children through lectures, workshops and trainings in accordance with European standards;
  • interdisciplinary diagnostics and treatments (psychiatrists, psychotherapists, clinical psychologists, pediatrician, social pedagogue, defectologist / logoped, social worker, lawyer)
  • Continuous supervision of professionals working with children, young people and families conducted by authorized supervisors and educators regulated by EIATSCYP (European
  • Interdisciplinary Association for Therapeutic Services for Children & amp; Young People); EA (European Association for Psychotherapy);
  • Measures to protect traumatized, abused and neglected children, children at risk of  abuse and neglect, and children and young people in conflict with the law, with the goal the establishment and implementation of multidisciplinary diagnostics and team planning of the best possible treatment for each child and parents with coordinated cooperation with others mental health professionals and intersectoral co-operation in the best interests of the child and his well-being
  • publishing scientific journals, handbooks, brochures, promotional material, with the aim promotion of children’s rights, health determinants, and sensitization of society, and in particular experts on the severity of the problem of child abuse, the ability to recognize andproviding appropriate assistance and support, and raising public awareness of the importance preserving and improving the mental health and quality of life of children, adolescents and families
  • Directing towards the development or promotion of psychotherapeutic science in accordance with the European standards;

The activities of BHIDAPA are implemented on the basis of existing legal and professional legislation standards, scientific knowledge, experience and practice, modeled and supported by the Polyclinic for Protection children and young people of the City of Zagreb, and cooperation with other institutions of the system on the basis of which it is the child is provided with a specialized team approach to the most effective and humorous solution of his difficulties.

The applicable legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina on which the work of the Association and the Institute is based following:

  • Convention on the Rights of the Child,
  • Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
  • European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights,
  • the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine and other regulations and protocols which they establish ways of dealing with children, as well as positive experiences of other organizations and institutions in work with children,
  • The BiH Constitution, and a number of laws dealing with this area (Law on Protection against Domestic Violence, Family Law, Criminal Law, Law on Protection of Patients’ Rights, Law on Health Care, Law on Medical Care, Law on Personal Data Protection),
  • The Statute of BHIDAPA, which, among other things, regulates the practice of the Ethics Committee,
  • Protocol on the Treatment of Sexual Violence Specifying Standardized procedures for the protection of victims of sexual abuse for all professionals of various profiles from various institution,
  • Protocol on the Treatment of Abuse and Neglect of Children,
  • Protocol on treatment in case of domestic violence,
  • Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual abuse,
  • Directive 2011/93 / EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on combating sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography,
  • Directive 2012/29 / EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the establishment minimum standards for the rights, support and protection of victims of criminal offenses.

BHIDAPA is also a member of EIATSCYP member http://eiatscyp.org/

The purpose of BHIDAPA is:

    • Ensure effective, timely and well-coordinated support for children and their families,
    • ensure respect for the best interests of the child,
    • promoting the rights of the child,
    • Promoting health and well-being for children
    • Provide protective measures against abuse and neglect, and through recognition, education and responding to abuse and neglect of children, as well as preventing violence against children, in accordance with the law.

These postulates as well as compliance with legal and professional standards are valid and apply to every employee / volunteer, student BHIDAPA.

The operation of Centers of BHIDAPA

  1. An interdisciplinary therapy center for the protection of children, young people and families

 

Diagnostic and therapeutic work

The Center provides a specialized team approach to children, young people and parents.

The multidisciplinary team consists of: psychotherapists, psychologists, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, social pedagogue, defectologist and lawyer. Timely professional work the child is approaching using a specific knowledge and skills of each expert, the work takes place through multidisciplinarity, it is coordinated the greater the welfare of the child, and each of the experts directly or indirectly contributes to the quality diagnosis and treatment determination in accordance with the individual needs of each child.

BHIDAPA also supervises cases under the supervision of a psychiatrist and psychotherapist.

 

Other activities

The work of BHIDAPA Centers includes preventive activities at all three levels.

– The primary level includes the provision of a specialized education program for acquiring academic and professional skills in the field of child and adolescent integrative psychotherapy and counseling. The primary level of education prevention is also achieved by raising public awareness awareness among parents and children, professionals working with children and the general public, which includes and social structures that have the ability to contribute to the protection of children, through professional seminars, workshops, education.

– Secondary level of prevention by experts of the Interdisciplinary Therapeutic Center for Protection children, young people and families through continual education, individual work, supervision, daily work with children and families who are due to personal characteristics or unfavorable conditions growing up in an increased risk of exposure to various forms of abuse or neglect.

– The tertiary level refers to treatment with children who have experienced a particular form of violence with with the aim of minimizing the consequences of preventing revictimization by targeting them recovery.

All mentioned activities are realized through:

 Education of experts

 Teamwork and supervision

 A crisis intervention team

 Research and scientific work

 Raising public awareness and publicity

 

The course of treatment in direct work with children (diagnostics and treatment) in cases of need protection of children (suspicion of abuse and neglect and exposure to violence)

  1. A child in the Center is accompanied by a parent / legal guardian: at the initiative of the parent / guardian or at the recommendation of the competent doctor, the Center for Social Welfare, and on the recommendation of other institutions (school, kindergarten, home, NGOs, etc.).
  2. The processing begins with the first interview with the expert of the multidisciplinary team, who goes on assesses the situation and the need to involve other experts in the team. When suspicious of abuse, neglect, domestic violence, etc., the estimation of the urgency of the assessment is estimated child protection.
  3. The conversation is conducted in a way to talk to the person who came with the child accompanying him the child himself. If it is possible in case of suspicion of abuse talk with the child and the parent is carried out separately, but always taking into account the best interest of the child and the reduction risk and stressful situations for the child. Acting in this situation is the responsibility of the expert mental health and is in line with the rules of professional treatment of children of different ages and individual characteristics and needs. The first interview also includes psychological first aid the child and the parent, due to the possible traumatic nature of the events to which the child was exposed.

After the interview, the parent is informed of the further plan of action. Child is also inform, in a manner appropriate to his development status and in accordance with the right of the child to information according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  1. Collection of relevant documentation is most often in cooperation with the Social Welfare Center, after the first meeting (sending a notice with the request for information). It’s possible cooperation with other institutions in order to protect children and obtain relevant information (CZSR, police, schools, preschool institutions, other health institutions, etc.).
  2. Data collection and information

If during the conversation or during processing, data indicating the suspicion that the child was exposed to some form of domestic violence (directly or indirectly), an expert informs the competent institutions about this: PU and CZSR according to the place of residence of the child, a sometimes the State Attorney’s Office.

When questioning the experts, experts are guided by data obtained through the application of expert knowledge and competence in working with children and families.

To this end, the experts of the multidisciplinary team carry out forensic interviews and forensic evaluation, or elements of these procedures, for which they have been specially trained.

It also describes the previous course of treatment and knowledge that has occurred (child’s statements), possible injuries, possibly other relevant data based on expert assessment.

In cases when suspicion of child exposure to violence is not established with certainty (low chronological age of a child, child development limitations or condition, conversation refusal, family factors, etc.), but further risks per child are noticed, the competent institutions are also notified with appropriate recommendation.

If, at the first contact with the child, the exposure of the child to the current danger is determined, as well as possible unprotectedness outside of the Association’s premises, the expert immediately establishes contact with competent authorities (CSS, police) for urgent action to protect the child.

  1. Processing

The expert who started the processing introduces the team leader and other team members with until then obtained data and performed processing, as well as with set indications for teamwork processing agreed. During a joint meeting, with the guidance and coordination of the team, additional joint decisions are made and agreements are reached on the further implementation of the diagnostics and planning treatment for each child. The planned treatment should be reported to the parent / legal guardian guardian, and just a child in a way that is appropriate to developmental times.

  1. Data collection and information

If during the conversation or during processing, data indicating the suspicion that the child was exposed to some form of domestic violence (directly or indirectly), an expert informs the competent institutions about this: PU and CZSR according to the place of residence of the child, a sometimes the State Attorney’s Office.

When questioning the experts, experts are guided by data obtained through the application of expert knowledge and competence in working with children and families.

To this end, the experts of the multidisciplinary team carry out forensic interviews and forensic evaluation, or elements of these procedures, for which they have been specially trained.

It also describes the previous course of treatment and knowledge that has occurred (child’s statements), possible injuries, possibly other relevant data based on expert assessment.

In cases when suspicion of child exposure to violence is not established with certainty (low chronological age of a child, child development limitations or condition, conversation refusal, family factors, etc.), but further risks per child are noticed, the competent institutions are also notified with appropriate recommendation.

If, at the first contact with the child, the exposure of the child to the current danger is determined, as well as possible unprotectedness outside of the Association’s premises, the expert immediately establishes contact with competent authorities (CSS, police) for urgent action to protect the child.

  1. Processing

The expert who started the processing introduces the team leader and other team members with until then obtained data and performed processing, as well as with set indications for teamwork processing agreed. During a joint meeting, with the guidance and coordination of the team, additional joint decisions are made and agreements are reached on the further implementation of the diagnostics and planning treatment for each child. The planned treatment should be reported to the parent / legal guardian care-taker, and just a child in a way that is appropriate to developmental times.

  1. Informing the guardian and the child After the treatment has been completed or during its duration, the parent / guardian is familiar with its course and results as well as recommendations for further action. The child receives information according to developmental age.
  2. Common Findings and Opinion

Each team member creates his own findings and opinions, which include both opinion and recommendation for further treatment and eventual treatment of the child and his family. Common Findings and Opinion contains information about the child’s somatic / physical status, its developmental and intellectual characteristics and diagnostics obtained by the psychic profile, conditions and the dynamics in which the child grows up, the characteristics of the social and emotional development of the child, and competence, degree of traumatism, possible psychopathology and difficulties, personal and family risk factors, possible suspicion of exposure and exposure abusive / abusive behavior in the family or other environment.

Opinion contains a recommendation for inclusion in one of the treatments (or more) in the Center or some another institution. The finding also contains a recommendation on the need to involve parents in counseling or treatment, as well as for possible inclusion in the treatment of brothers and sisters of a processed child if their risk of traumatization is estimated. The finding also contains possible recommendations for further protection of the child.

Finding and thinking is issued to a child’s parents unless a potential conflict of interest is identified  by child and parent, in cases where the parent is a source of traumatization of the child, that could abuse the finding for further pressure on the child. We then send the report to the competent CZSR, leading are the best interests of the child and the ethical code of the involved profession.

If there is a suspicion that a child has witnessed domestic violence or has been exposed, the report is sent to the competent CZSR, and the police notice (if it is not sent immediately after starting processing). The police and the court can find the report in accordance with the law, in writing request.

  1. Collaboration with other institutions during and after processing In cases where parents are not willing to cooperate during processing, help is needed in acting by the competent CZSR. For the child and his further protection, he showed himself especially an important avoidance of repeated testing, which contributes to possible further traumatization.

Sometimes it is necessary to take certain measures by the competent CZSR or court decision to provide the child with the necessary protection and to create safe and stable conditions for his inclusion in appropriate treatment. It is often necessary to cooperate and because parents refuse to engage in treatment or counseling, especially when they neglect their own role and parental responsibility.

In all of these cases, an expert from the Center for Protection of Children, Youth and Family informs the competent CZSR with a request for cooperation in the process.

  1. Treatment of children exposed to trauma

A multidisciplinary approach is the most suitable model for determining the needs of the child and his / her further treatment.

In the treatment of children, the most effective methods and therapeutic approaches based on performance indicators: humanistic approaches (integrative psychotherapy, gestalt therapy, art therapy, play therapy, EMDR), TF-KBT and psychodynamic model. The treatment of children is regular including the parent / guardian through counseling, since it has been shown that family support is both Close-up to the child is a first-order protection factor.

Contrary to the long-held view that a child should not be included in the treatment before completion judicial process, based on contemporary expert knowledge, and guided by the Convention on the rights of the child and the established norm of the child’s best interest in the professional public designed “forensic sensitive treatment / therapy”. This treatment approach is focused on starting a recovery of an abused or neglected child showing signs of trauma.

It is then justified that the treatment starts even before the end of the trial, because the trial waiting is to much long for a child and a family that needs a quicker intervention. This approach has been shown justified, and often during the treatment, the child also gets additional support due to exposure stressors following the procedure (trial in court, family-related work-related difficulties systems, etc.).

Rules

All involved experts are obliged, according to the Law on Health Care, to keep it as a professional secret of everything they know about the patient’s health.

For each employee, criminal records are checked at the Ministry of Justice of BiH, based on the Law on Legal Consequences of Conviction, Penal Records and Rehabilitation).

Each new employee or volunteer worker is informed about the regulations of importance prior to commencement of working for work of BHIDAPA, acts and manner of performing activities by the director, legal department and business manager.

Hierarchical responsibility

BHIDAPA Centers are based on the hierarchical principle based on the applicable regulations, which implies professional responsibility of the superior person and services.

Ethical principles in dealing with children and families

All experts are required to respect the Code of Ethics of their profession and the Code of Ethics for Research with children.

Confidentiality of information is protected, except in cases of the need to protect child’s rights, as to what also inform children and families in accordance with the law.

Care is taken to protect the privacy of children and their families in the storage and storage documentation.

It is regularly requested for the informed consent of the parent / guardian in the case of recording or using it regularly requested documentation for educational purposes, taking into account the protection of the privacy of the child, as well as the code participation of children in research.