Dr. Maria Herczog is a prominent expert in child protection in Europe and beyond. She has been working in the field for 30 years already and was engaged in numerous projects and activities. Since 2007 she is director of our Hungarian project partner Family Child Youth Association. Maria is very well-known for her strong focus on child rights and best interests of the child and she served in different organisations to promote these. Amongst other functions she was a member of the UN CRC Committee for eight years and she currently is chair of Eurochild. Moreover, she also is an experienced trainer in child protection. Thus, we were very happy that Maria conducted two MAPChiPP seminars in Hungary!
- Interviewer: You are very active in child protection. What do you like about working in this field?
Maria: Working in child protection means to help children. Child protection helps children who are at risk or suffering from harm. By providing prevention and early intervention programs we can help and strengthen families. Thus, the development and well-being of their children is supported and we help professionals who work with parents and children.
The experience proves that professionals can be brought together and that they will learn from each other.
- MAPChiPP aims to promote and facilitate multi-disciplinarity in child protection processes. What is your personal experience with multi-disciplinarity?
I have always worked on multidisciplinary approach and with an integrated vision in child protection. But my most positive experience was to see professionals working in different areas of child protection sharing their experiences and learning a common approach and language based on child rights and human rights. For me, the experience proves that professionals can be brought together and that they will learn from each other.
I get feedback on my own knowledge and beliefs.
- It seems obvious why you support MAPChiPP.
(nodding) I value the international co-operation, the opportunities to meet and talk with different professionals about their experiences and views. It is enriching to get impulses from others and to learn from them. This also means that I myself get feedback on my own knowledge and beliefs.
Regardless of their age and background children know much more about their own needs …
- To us, participation of children and their family in child protection processes is another important topic that we would like to help improving. From your personal experience, what role does participation play in child protection?
It is extremely important! Interviewing children, talking with them about their own experiences in child protection procedures has given us a much better insight into their needs and requests. It is important to acknowledge that regardless of their age and background children know much more about their own needs than those adults around them who don’t ask them and don’t hear their views.
- When we talked to Carla Thomas from Refocus on Practice about different tools, she made clear that it is important for practitioners to be equipped with a variety of tools. What is your opinion? What do you recommend?
I recommend using the tools most fitting the given situation. Based on the background, interest and needs of the participants the most useful tool can be chosen. So, yes, one must be familiar with different tools.
- Let’s dream about child protection. What kind of child protection do you wish for?
I wish there was much more investment in prevention based on a wide range of high quality, local accessible and preferably free universal and targeted services for all children and families in need. This way we could avoid the need for child protection interventions!
- We thank you for the interview.