Ministry slashed amid reshuffle

  • 2009-04-29
  • Kate McIntosh

RIGA - The Latvian government has announced it will abolish theMinistry of Children, Family and Society Integration Affairs and redistribute itsfunctions under the umbrella of three existing ministries.

The government announced on April 28 its decision to reorganizethe Ministry of Children, Family and Society Integration Affairs, dividing itsfunctions among the Welfare ministry, the Justice Ministry and the Educationand Science Ministry.

The government has ordered the Children and Family AffairsMinistry to hand in a report at the next government meeting detailing fundingnecessary for the ministry's functions, including information on the ministry'sstaff.

The ministry will also have to present a detailed timelineoutlining the transfer of its functions to other ministries.

Outgoing minister Ainars Bastiks expressed disappointment atthe decision, saying he feared issues around children's rights and socialprotection would now take a backseat.

He also expected the ministry's 100 strong staff to betrimmed in light of the planned reorganization.

"It's quite hard to say some positive words about thechanges. It looks very strange when in these times of crisis we start to hitchildren and families [with budget cuts]," Bastiks told The Baltic Times.

"Every country and every smart politician knows the futureis connected to children; with birth and demographic issues. If we do notsupport these sorts of issues then it's a dead end in the future," he said.

Bastiks said cohesive child and family policies remainedcrucial, particularly given soaring unemployment rates and the increasedeconomic pressure on families and young people.