Social Welfare System of Republic of Srpska in the Function of Developing a Non-Governmental Network of Support for Children with Disabilities


  • Ljubo Lepir Professor at the Department of Social work, Faculty of political science, University of Banjaluka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Dragana Šćepović
  • Andrea Rakanović Radonjić



Children with disabilities, Republic of Srpska, an association of parents, social services, Social welfare system


Children with disabilities represent a significant part of the population of users within Social welfare system in the Republic of Srpska. Number of children with a disability who are registered as users at the centers for social work, and therefore as users of social services, annually range around 3.5 thousand. Their status and support services are defined by the Law on Social Protection, which allows the non-governmental sector to provide services for children with disabilities. The network of non-governmental organizations and consumer associations concerned with providing social support to children with disabilities and their parents began to develop in the late 90s, when they started to form parents' associations in several municipalities. In the past period such associations were formed in almost all the communities in the Republic of Srpska. Their activities are very important for improving social protection in local communities. These associations work together at regional level, in the framework of the Association Persons with Mental disabilities (acronym - MINERALS). The effect of parents' associations is recognized through the development of partnerships with centers for social work on the realization of social protection measures for children with disabilities. Associations have developed new support services such as day care, speech therapy treatments, workshops, self-help groups and etc. Association improved the direct work with children, provide new ways of financing social protection and welfare (project finance), have contributed to the planning of services, developed the partnership model of cooperation, have contributed to the legal solutions; enhance the social sensitivity of the local community to the situation of children with disabilities. This paper presents the development of a network of parents associations of children with disabilities in the Republic of Srpska, legal merits of their work and partnership in the social welfare system, model of community work and the role of associations in the life of the local community. Paper also presents the results of research relating to the general characteristics of a network of associations, members of the association structure, and the types of services provided to the associations, methods of working with customers, quality of partnerships and ways of financing the association.