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Families in Lithuania face many social, economic, and psychological issues that significantly affect the development of their children. During periods of tremendous change, many families experience enormous pressures. Lithuanian family morality and child safety are decreasing, represented by rising rates of abandonment, abuse, violence and suicide. To become healthy, independent, and responsible members of society, children need not only treatment but also support and understanding at home, school and in their communities. Lithuania, like most post-Communist countries, inherited a centralized system of services for children with emotional, psychological, and developmental problems.
Since 1995, the public institution Children Support Centre strives to ensure the mental welfare of the Lithuanian children by providing effective complex assistance to children and families. The Centre is performing the children abuse prevention and intervention; provides assistance to children with behavioural and emotional difficulties and for those undergoing psychological crises. The Centre is also operating the programme “Big Brothers Big Sisters” and implementing the programme “Second Step” in Lithuania, spreads and implements ideas of positive parenthood, acts as a methodical centre for specialists and volunteers preventive work with children, young people and families, and provides psychological services to the residents and organisations of the country. Today the Centre is operating 4 main programmes: “Big Brothers Big Sisters”, “Second Step”, “Centre for Children – Victims of Abuse and Violence”, and “Positive Parenting”. The Centre also provides the psychologist’s services to the residents and organisations. The Centre has very useful and needful complex service for the children and families which are injured of violence: legal service, psychological service, psychiatrist service and social service. The Centre also collaborates with other government institution for the help of people.
The goal of the Centre – more sensitive and more powerful community. Adults with more awareness. More discussion in the public, in the community. You can find a lot of Ausra aware opinion in Lithuanian media.
Ausra believes that society is able to address the psychological needs of at-risk children by involving the wider community in early prevention and intervention. She raises awareness and provides new knowledge and skills, enabling community members to actively participate in solving children’s problems. Ausra is countering the current approach, in which interventions in psychological cases are carried out mainly by professionals, due to the need for more immediate and effective crisis identification and support. Adults whom the child meets every day-teachers, coaches, pediatricians, police-usually are not able to recognize signs of crisis, nor do they feel capable to do anything about it. Educating the adults a child meets every day about the signs of psychological problems and methods of intervention enables them to act with greater efficiency and certainty than even a doctor could.
Ausra is empowering children and families at risk through community education and by promoting civic participation. She is creating an active network to arrest the development of more serious childhood psychological problems. Her approach moves away from the traditional, inefficient model to a broad civic movement involving key players.
Tel:+370 620 52299
Ausra is the founder and the director of the Children Support Centre.