President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with Minister of Social Security and Labour Algimanta Pabedinskienė on Monday and criticised her for stagnating reforms in children's care homes and for the lack of transparency in the ministry's use of funds.
Algimanta Pabedinskienė ir Dalia Grybauskaitė
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

The president noted that the Ministry of Social Security and Labour commissioned a study for EUR 1.5 million, employing 14 of its own employees in the project.

"There are clear examples of abuse of civil service at the Ministry of Social Security and Labour. It is intolerable that civil servants turn their direct work into millions-worth projects, while they themselves take part and receive money. The minister must stop such money-making methods immediately," the president said.

Next, Grybauskaitė addressed the deliberately lagging reform of care homes for children, when funding is allocated for the bureaucratic apparatus, instead of efforts to reduce the number of care homes. Currently over 100 child care institutions operate in Lithuania, accommodating nearly 4,000 children. This costs the state at least EUR 33.5 million per year.

"The Ministry of Social Security and Labour has been implementing the reform of child care homes for over a decade. However, there are no results but only ineffective discussions in working groups. Child care homes are a Soviet legacy and only their administrations are interested in preserving such institutions. Children have become hostages to the bureaucratic apparatus eager to receive funding," said the president.

According to Grybauskaitė, the state must create conditions for children to be raised in families instead of investing in ineffective care institutions. The president gave an example of child care home Putinas located in Marijampolė. Floor space per child in this institution is as much as 200 square metres. It costs EUR 1,800 per month to sustain one child living there, whereas the state allocates EUR 300 or EUR 150 to children living in foster care families.

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