RIGA - The Welfare Ministry has proposed restructuring the State Inspectorate for Protection of Children's Rights (VBTAI), creating as a result a central authority for the protection of children's rights.
The ministry also wants the number of custody courts being cut and picking their members in competitions in order to prevent local governments from influencing the custody courts' rulings.
The Welfare Ministry announced a plan to reform the custody courts and establish a new institution for the protection of children's rights already last summer. Now, the ministry has tabled its report On Improving the System of Children's Rights Protection providing a detailed account of the existing situation and planned reforms.
As Welfare Ministry spokesman Egils Zarins told LETA, the ministry indicates in the report that along with the implementation of Latvia's administrative territorial reform, the number of custody courts should be reduced so that it was consistent with the number of municipalities.
At present, work in under way to assess the functions of the custody courts and social services. After that, the ministry will propose a discussion with the responsible authorities on reforming some of these functions.