Bulgaria - Article 7

Preliminary issues

1.    In your country, is there, following legislative measures, a national register that systematically receives data and other useful information pertaining to all children and young persons with a visual impairment of 0-18 years of age (or a register operating according to different age criteria)?

Not aware.
1.1 If yes, what are the criteria, if any, related to degree of sight loss, age or other conditions related to vision, or any other preconditions for being admitted to the register?

1.2 If there is a register, but not based on legislative measures, what is the basis for the establishment and running of such a register?

2.    Please give:

2.1.     The number of children and young persons up to and including 18 years of age in your country with a visual disability.

We do not have this information.

2.2.     The percentage compared with non-disabled children and young persons.

We do not have this information.

2.3.     The percentage based on the number of inhabitants in your country.

We do not have this information.

3. Please if possible indicate the specific numbers within the total amount indicated above with additional disabilities.
We do not have this information.

Section A. National Disability strategies

1.    Is there in your country according to legislative provisions an adopted national disability strategy?

Yes, according to article 5, paragraph 2 of Bulgarian Law on the Integration of People with Disabilities (LIPD) “The policy of the state for integration of people with disabilities shall be implemented by the Council of Ministers, the Minister of the Labour and Social Policy, heads of the regional governance, bodies of the local self-governance in co-operation with national represented organisations of and for people with disabilities, national represented organisations of employers and national represented organisations of workers and servants in compliance with the adopted national strategy for equal opportunities for people with disabilities.”

In the Republic of Bulgaria there was a Strategy for Promoting of Equal Opportunities of People with Disabilities (2008 – 2015). Now, a inter-institutional working group is regarding projects and is preparing the new Strategy for People with Disabilities, for the period of 2016 – 2020. That Strategy is not adopted yet.

If a disability strategy is adopted based on other rules or decisions than legislation, please indicate these.

2.    Does your organization participate in preparing national disability strategies?

Yes

3.    Are children and young persons included in such existing national disability strategies?

Not aware

3.1.     If no: Is your organization striving to ensure that this is improved?

N/A

4.    Has there been any type of national conference or similar coordinated gathering with the goal of focusing on children and young persons with disabilities / specifically children and young persons with a visual impairment within the last five years?

Not aware, in the Republic of Bulgaria exists the Association of the Parents of Visually Impaired Children (APVICh) that has more accurate information about similar meetings. Our organization is organizing meeting about discussion of the rights and opportunities of young members of the Union of the Blind in Bulgaria.
4.1.     If yes, what was the theme for the conference held?

Last meeting of young members of our organization (on May 27, 2016) regards the subjects of Accessibility and Discrimination, Employability and Future Plans of Young Members of the Union of the Blind in Bulgaria.

Section B. Support from the local part of society towards families with children with a visual impairment.

European countries are to a large extent heading towards an educational system in which all children and young persons have access to inclusive education taking place in mainstream schools and other inclusive social measures. Hence, it is required that the society must offer support to children and young persons with a visual disability as well as to their families.

1.    Is there in your country legislation or other requirements that ensures collaboration amongst social, health and educational authorities with a purpose to coordinate information and proper measures?

According to provisions of LIPD, there are few coordinating mechanisms among mentioned above Ministries, in the area of prophylactics rehabilitation of the disability (art. 14, p. 2); preparing of lists of supportive devices and medical facilities (art. 35d); determination of conditions about receiving of monthly allowance for diet and medical products, including children (art. 42g); determination of the amount of other allowances and making of coordination mechanism (art. 44, p. 3 and 4).

In art. 5 of Bulgarian Child Protection Act (SPA) are noted the responsible institutions of implementation of the provision of that law. In the next article 6a are detailed the liabilities of each of the institutions. Further in the act is given the mechanism of preparing of the policy for protection of children rights (including many institutions on national and local level – art. 17a, p. 1.1) as well as supporting mechanism of mentioned institution in implementation of EU policy in the area of protection of children' rights (art. 17a, p. 1.6).

There are National Council of Protection of Children' Rights (art. 18 of SPA) and National Council for Integration of Persons with Disabilities (art. 6 of LIPD).

There is a special procedure of giving of license for conceding of social service for children in which is also prepared an inter-institutional way of making the decision (art. 43b of SPA).

2.    Is there specific legislation in your country that guarantees that families with children or young persons with disabilities / a visual impairment receive support from the national or local authorities?

Yes

3.    What kind of support is in your country offered on a central and/or local level?

Art. 8e of Bulgarian Law for Family Support for Children (LFSCh) gives to the families and adopting families of children with disabilities, a monthly financial support, on national level.

There is some local legislation which give financial support for assistants of children with disabilities, for example a special program of Sofia municipality about independent childhood.

3.1.     Are there national institutions that offer special competence and knowledge or other agencies that offer counselling and support to parents with children and young persons with a disability, including children and young persons with visual disabilities?

Not aware. There is no specific institution but some functions are disseminated among national bodies, as in respond of question 1 of section B.

3.2.     If yes, where does the responsibility lie for running such facilities, taking the initiative making the first contact with the parents, gathering experience and knowledge etc., at national or local level?

n/a

3.3.     Do these facilities also deal with / offer appropriate technical assistive devices?

see Section B, question 1.

3.4.     Who is responsible for updating knowledge and information?

n/a

4.    Are there coordinated private initiatives, where parents with children and young persons with disabilities / visual disabilities may obtain consultation and support (for example, advice, counselling, and assistive devices for pedagogical / educational purposes)?

Not aware. In Bulgaria exists the Association of the Parents of Visually Impaired Children (APVICh) should have more information about this section.

5.    Are there any magazines, newsletters or publications financed by public resources or private funding specifically for:

5.1.     Employees/personnel that work on a daily basis with children and/or young persons with a disability / with a visual  impairment

Not aware

5.2.     Children and young persons with a disability / visual  impairment

Not aware

5.3.     Parents to children and young persons with a disability / visual disability?

Not aware

6.    Are there any leisure activities available specially developed and adapted for children and/or young persons with visual disabilities?

Not aware. In Bulgaria exists the Association of the Parents of Visually Impaired Children (APVICh) should have more information about this section.

6.1.     If yes: who is responsible for maintenance and the management?

n/a

7.    In your country, is there an arrangement either constituted by legal requirements or established on a voluntary basis, through which children and young persons with a disability / visual disability may have the right to:

7.1.     Sighted guides / company?

No

7.2.     Financial support?

Yes

7.3.     Transportation to leisure activities?

No

8. Are there formal or informal opportunities by which children and/or young persons with a visual impairment may meet / spend time together with their peers (children facing the same challenges) and meet mentors / role models?

Yes

8.1.     If yes: who is responsible for running such meeting opportunities?

We organize different meetings, debates, events for young visually impaired members.

9.    Are there any formal or informal opportunities for children and young persons with a visual impairment to meet adults with a visual impairment in order to meet role models / mentors?

Yes.

9.1.     If yes, who is responsible for running such meeting opportunities?

Responsible is the organization whose members are that the people from the target group.

10.     Are there any formal or informal arrangements by which parents of children and young persons with a visual impairment may meet other families in similar situations?

Not aware.

Section C. Opportunities for children and young persons with a disability / visual impairment and their organizations to be consulted on issues that involve or concern them.

According to the UNCRPD, children and young persons with a disability are entitled to express their opinion / point of view regarding all issues pertaining to their lives and conditions.

1.    Is there any existing legislation in your country generally, or within the specific social, educational or the health area that ensures that children and young persons with a disability / a visual impairment have the opportunity / right to express their points of view pertaining to their specific situation or to general issues pertaining to disability policies?

Not aware. There is no a specific rights for expression of people with disabilities, written in Bulgarian legislation.

1.1.     If yes, please specify area and scope of such legislation.

n/a

2.    Do the national organizations of blind and partially sighted persons in your country have a functioning subdivision, wing or independent representative organization with specific focus on issues relating to children and young persons?

No, In Bulgaria exists a special organization “Association of the Parents of Visually Impaired Children” (APVICh)

3.    Is there any formalized network or organization(s) of parents and relatives of children and young persons with a disability / visual impairment?

Not aware

3.1 if yes, when were they set up

n/a
3.2 What is their leadership structure (by parents themselves, by institutions)?
n/a
3.3 What is their leadership structure (by parents themselves, by institutions)?
n/a

4.    Are there formal or informal forum/opportunities for children, young persons with a visual impairment or their parents through representative bodies to express concerns or points of view on issues that affect them?

not aware, In Bulgaria exists the Association of the Parents of Visually Impaired Children (APVICh) should have more information about this section.

Glossary

Blind: WHO has established precise criteria for the definition of this term. However, for all practical purposes, we suggest that the term means: Reduced sight to a degree where the person in question has so little residual sight that he/she cannot use vision to read, needs a white cane to undertake mobility and must use a screen reader to access information from the computer.

Children: According to the Convention of the Right of Children this means persons from age 0-18 years, but in this questionnaire the age limits are 0-12 years 

Visually impaired: Includes all persons with a severe  sight loss despite the degree (i.e. blind and partially sighted as defined above).

Local legislation / Authorities: Provisions / authorities that pertain to the specific regions / districts / municipalities.

Mentor: A peer or friend older of age with a visual impairment that may serve as an informal role model (non-professional).

National legislation / authorities: Legislation / authorities that cover the entire country.

Organisations for the blind: organizations / institutions / agencies the mission of which is to provide services or otherwise assist and improve the conditions for persons with a visual impairment.

Organisations of the blind: Representative organizations where the majority of the members and the leadership constitute of persons with a visual impairment.

Partially Sighted: WHO has set out specific criteria for this condition. However, for all practical purposes, we suggest that persons are considered partially sighted, if their vision lies in the area above blindness /see above) and under 1/3 (6/18) of normal sight.

Young persons: In this questionnaire persons of age from 12-18 years of age.