NIK: There were serious irregularities in most orphanages

The Court of Audit was concerned with the implementation of care and education tasks in orphanages† 21 centers from the following voivodeships were inspected: Warmińsko-Mazurskie, Lubelskie, Świętokrzyskie, Podkarpackie and Śląskie.

The main conclusion – the costs of the inspected orphanages did not receive sufficient support, especially specialist support, appropriate to the diagnosed conditions. † According to the findings of the NIK auditors, there were serious irregularities in most orphanages – comments by the President of the Supreme Court, Marian Banaś.

The institutions were mainly focused on meeting the basic needs of the levies, note the auditors of the High Court of Auditors.

Most orphanages had no educators, there were too many children, they were accepted as juvenile charges (the Family Support and Foster Care System Act limited the ability to admit children under the age of seven to institutions, and from 2020 – under 10 years of age). ), and children with disabilities were sent to inappropriate institutions.

The most common reason drivers cite – lack of people and space.

An eight-week-old girl was sent to one of the institutions. Prison staff where her mother was staying said the child could no longer be with the parent. No reasons were given. According to the court’s decision, the child had to be removed from there immediately. However, there was no place for this two-month-old baby in one of the foster homes in Poland. She had to go to an institution that was not suitable to care for such a small child.

The audit also revealed that employees were not properly monitored.

In 10 facilities, there was a lack of documents confirming, among other things, failure to identify workers with a valid penalty for an intentional offense or lack of contraindications to work. Also in 10 orphanages the details of employees in the Sex Offenders Register have not been verified.

Only in three of the institutions inspected did the children receive help from psychologists, educators and therapists. In 10 others, costs for therapies were sent to outside entities, but according to the report, there was no guarantee of ongoing support to the same extent as in the case of specialists employed in the centers.

The NIK also points out errors in drawing up psychophysical diagnoses and care plans for children. These should – as indicated – form the basis for care and education activities. Meanwhile, in an extreme case, the child waited 1021 days for the diagnosis. It’s almost three years. There were also incomprehensible reversals of order – plans to help a child were prepared even six months before the diagnosis was made.

In addition, unauthorized persons started using it.

The Court of Audit’s audit report shows that jointly 76 disabled children stayed in maladaptive socialization institutions (they must be in specialized and therapeutic institutions).

Rode? Again the same – no vacancies, although there were also cases when the reason was not to separate siblings.

The auditors note that from December 31, 2020, a maximum of 14 children will be allowed to come to orphanages. “Local government units running orphanages had eight years to transform them to meet the required standards. Most of them have postponed this and left the transformation until the last minute” – we read. Sometimes the problem was solved by purely technical movements – the institutions were theoretically separated and operated in the same building.

The Court of Audit’s investigation also revealed that shocking stories were circulating in three places. The workers used violence and tortured the charge physically and mentally. These are orphanages in Opatów, Kraśnik and Mysłowice.

In Kraśnik the irregularities would take place in the Care and Education Center No. 2, which is located in the same building as the Kraśnik Orphanage. One of the employees allegedly “treated children in an inappropriate, vulgar way – violating their dignity and sense of security”.

The inspection of the voivode did not reveal any shortcomings and irregularities, but attention was drawn to the bad atmosphere and inappropriate relations between some educators and between some educators and children. Lublin’s voivode pointed out that the system of consequences applied in the facility should be changed, and punishments are too long. Supervision takes place in the institution.

In turn, the case of the Opiekuńczo-Wychowawcza Dom im. st. Father Pio St. Mysłowice went to the prosecutor’s office. According to the Supreme Court, “in 2018-2021, the mayor of the city received information about physical and mental abuse of children living in an orphanage in Mysłowice from the parents of the indictment, employees of the facility and teachers”. After the inspection in 2021, the then director was released and the president of Mysłowice made a report to the public prosecutor about the suspicion of committing a crime.

In the orphanage in opatow one of the employees physically and mentally abused the charge. The management has canceled the contract with him.

In response to the findings of the NIK accountants, it has submitted conclusions to the Minister of Family and Social Policy, among other things. The Supreme Court demands, among other things, activities to support the growth of the number of specialized and therapeutic care and educational institutions.

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