Czech teachers and psychologists are ringing alarm bells over the growing number of children addicted to the Internet and smartphones. Out of some 120 kids admitted to the Addiction Clinic for children and youth at the General Teaching Hospital in the first year of its existence, every fourth showed symptoms of digital addiction.
Norwegian authorities have ruled that Czech national Eva Michaláková will lose parental rights to her two children: the authorities said that her six-year-old son can be adopted by his foster parents and ruled that she would also lose the right to see her older son, who is now ten. Norway’s Child Welfare Services, the Barnevernet, took the boys away from their biological parents four years ago on the suspicion they had suffered sexual abuse and neglect. However, details were never revealed to protect them.
Former Constitutional Court judge and current member of the Czech upper house, the Senate, Eliška Wagnerová, warned on Sunday that the Czech Republic could face proceedings in the European Court of Justice for keeping the children of refugees in detention centres. Minister of Interior Milan Chovanc, however, has insisted that the country is respecting all EU rules. It would be much worse to split families than keep them together in detention centres, he added. Chovanc said that half of the 3,000 immigrants who have been detained since June on Czech soil have been returned to Austria. At the current rate, the Czech Republic should be able to deal with the immigrant crisis without more detention centres, he added.
Reading Helps is a long-running project founded by businessman Martin Roman to counter worsening reading skills among children and youths in the Czech Republic registered in a past International Student Assessment (which compared the results of 34 countries). Children who complete books recommended by a special jury gain credit to go to charities of their choice. The project has raised millions to help - teaching kids not only a love of reading but also showing how they can contribute to a better society.
Czech kindergartens and other pre-school facilities will continue to enrol only children who have received the full range of recommended vaccinations. The Lower House of the Parliament on Wednesday rejected a Senate-proposed amendment, according to which pre-school institutions would only have the right to know what vaccinations their charges have received. The legislation has been surrounded by a lengthy debate and stirred controversy among parents who are against compulsory inoculation of their children.
The Czech Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled in favour of a British national, whose Czech wife has abducted their child to the Czech Republic. A British court had ordered the mother to return the child to Great Britain, where the family previously lived, but the Brno Municipal Court failed to respect the verdict. The Constitutional Court said that in case of international child abductions, the Czech judiciary is required to respect previous verdicts of other EU state courts. The Municipal Court in Brno will now have to re-open the case.
Czechs want to be entertained and are willing to pay for it. That is the conventional thinking at the moment according to daily Mladá fronta Dnes. Recently, the paper interviewed the former head of the Prague Zoo, Petr Fejk, who is reportedly looking for investors in a 200 million crown project just outside the capital. According to the former zoo man, Czechs don’t want Disneyland but something more. Others, meanwhile, have been even quicker to get in on the action.
The government has not approved an extraordinary 20-million financial injection for the indebted Fund for Children at Risk Klokánek, which runs a number of children’s homes around the country. The plan was proposed by Finance Minister Andrej Babiš but the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová was against it, saying that it wouldn’t be fair to other institutions caring for children in need. The charity owes the state around 120 million crowns in overdue social and health insurance payments for its employees, and faces a threat of property seizure. It has already sold three of its facilities in order to lower the debt.
The Prague Pride festival has divided the Christian Democratic Party of the Czech ruling coalition, with some members slamming Culture Minister Daniel Herman for supporting the LGBT festival. However a march in support of the “traditional family” model organized by Christian Democrat opponents of Prague Pride attracted only a handful off supporters. Jan Wolf, a Christian Democrat and Prague councillor said he was disappointed by the low turnout. Jan Gregor, deputy chair of the Young Christian Democrats called the Prague Pride parade “obscene”.
Experts of the Visegrad Four group are to start debating the high-profile case involving a Czech mother, Eva Michaláková, living in Norway, whose children were placed in foster homes, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Tuesday. The Czech Republic, which has took up the presidency of the Visegrad Four group, an alliance of four Central European states which also includes SLoivakia, Poland and Hungary, at the start of July, plans to start dealing with the case. The two boys - now aged six and nine – were taken from their mother and father over alleged sexual abuse, but the Norwegian authorities have refused to make the information public to protect the children’s privacy. Slovakia and Poland are dealing with similar cases of children placed in foster care.