The “Child Friendly City” Initiative in Croatia
The Child Friendly City („Gradovi i općine – prijatelji djece“) is a global UNICEF initiative launched in 1996. In Croatia, the initiative started in 1999 thanks to two associations: the Union of Societies ‘Our Children’ Croatia and the Croatian Society for Preventive and Social Paediatrics. These represent the initiative on a national level, while local steering committees run the initiative in their respective cities and municipalities. The programme is sponsored by UNICEF’s Croatian office.
Any local authority in Croatia can opt into the initiative; there are currently 100 participating cities and municipalities, of which the following 44 have earned the prestigious title of ‘Child Friendly’ (in chronological order, from 2005-2014):
2005. – Čakovec, Opatija, Rijeka, Skrad, Varaždin and Zabok; 2006.- Brod Moravice, Dubrovnik, Kutina, Velika Gorica and Zagreb; 2007.- Karlovac, Koprivnica, Ogulin, Požega, Pregrada and Valpovo; 2008. – Delnice and Mali Lošinj; 2009.- Čazma, Dugo Selo, Križ, Slavonski Brod and Šibenik; 2010. – Krapina, Osijek, Prelog and Vrbovsko; 2011. – Belišće, Gospić, Pleternica, Pula, Ravna Gora and Sisak; 2012. Buzet, Grubišno Polje, Labin, Radoboj, Stubičke Toplice and Vinkovci. 2013. Jastrebarsko, Mače, Rovinj, Tuhelj; 2014. Lovran, Mrkopalj, Nova Gradiška, Split.
The ‘Child Friendly City’ Programme takes into account every aspect of a child’s life in local society, and aims to establish a holistic approach to child welfare running through the whole community – thus creating a safe and supportive environment for children. As such, the Croatian programme is developed with 123 relevant criteria in mind, from 10 key areas: 1) Child welfare programmes and policies, 2) Government funding for children, 3) Third Sector child support and services, 4) Urban health and safety fit for children, 5) Children’s health, 6) Children’s upbringing and education, 7)Social care for children, 8) Culture and sport for children, 9) Free time and recreation, 10) Parental support services.