Organization of child protection specialists’ work in the context of legal regulation
In this article, authors analyze the legal regulation of the work of Child rights protection (CRP) specialists in the context of the transformation of the CRP system in Lithuania. Intensive changes in the legislation and practice organization field of CRP over the last three years have created preconditions for better operational functioning of the system. However, it can be concluded that the professional status of CRP specialists is not yet completely shaped. There are no requirements for the qualification, the procedure for its promotion and certification; the work of specialists is more defined by the functions they perform than by professional competence. Although workers work in risky, emotionally challenging conditions, health and safety measures are not definitely determined. The basic legislation shaping the protection and welfare of the rights of children pays little attention to them, they do not distinguish as a separate category of employees, and the specifics of their activities are not clearly identified. During last three years some activities, such as assessment of the child’s and family’s situation, and the procedure of removing a child from its family and others have become more regulated. On the one hand, such regulations provide methodological assistance for their professional decisions; on the other hand, it may also create certain restrictions for their freedom and for development of their competencies. It is important that the principle of individualization remains in professional practice. CRP professionals constantly face dilemmas where they need to balance between support and control. Discussions and reflections on these situations could become be a stimulus for the conceptualization of such practices in the Lithuanian CRP system.
Keywords: specialists of child rights protection, work organization, legislation, discourse.