The 25 responses of the Organization “The Smile of the Child” to the publication of the newspaper "TO VIMA" in the issue of December 11, 2022
Athens, 11 December 2022
The 25 responses of the Organization “The Smile of the Child” to the publication of the newspaper "TO VIMA" in the issue of December 11, 2022
“The Smile of the Child”, following the report by Vassilis Lambropoulos published on Sunday, December 11, 2022, in the newspaper "TO VIMA TIS KYRIAKIS", entitled "Under the microscope “The Smile of the Child”:
It points out that:
- The journalist of "Vima" never contacted the Organization, neither in view of, nor during his journalistic investigation for relevant statements-answers on the points of his report.
- It was quite clearly trying to create impressions with the aim of shattering the confidence of the people who support, uninterruptedly, for 27 years, the work of the organization, following publications about other entities and NGOs.
- All the elements mentioned in the publication were subsequently debunked and further analyzed during the three-hour Press Conference held by the Organization, on Monday 12 December 2022. (The Press Conference is available on the Organization's youtube channel.)
- All financial data contained in the publication are consistently posted on the Organization’s website, however for other data reported, the Organization wonders how they were made public in journalistic circles.
1. With regard to the audit, which, as the publication claims, is to be carried out:
The “Smile of the Child”, over time, has been subject to controls by State and Local government bodies, a fact that it seeks and welcomes, as well as the control that the publication claims that will be carried out.
2. With regard to the investigation cited in the publication:
In the most recent nationwide survey (November 2022) conducted pro bono by FocusBari for the Organization, the following key points emerged:
- In 1st place and with a 94% recognition rate is "The Smile of the Child" among the NGOs of the country.
- 88% consider that it offers meaningful contribution to society.
- 86% consider that they have the most experience in dealing with incidents and childcare in Greece.
- 85% believe that they have the power to mobilize authorities and citizens.
- 79% of Greeks have a positive impression of the Organization's contribution, recording an increase of 8% from 2021.
- 78% consider it to be the most reliable non-governmental body in Greece, recording an increase of 21.9% from 2021.
3. Regarding the extroversion of the Organization, which, as the publication states, is invoked by those responsible:
"The Smile of the Child" on its own initiative:
- Publishes annually the report of the statutory auditors of the independent international company ErnstandYoung regarding the statement of Receipts / Payments
- Publishes twice a year the statistics of all its services and actions
- Publishes the Sustainable Development Report
- Receives an annual financial audit by the independent international firm of statutory auditors ErnstandYoung.
- Accepts Audit by international bodies e.g. European Union in the context of submission of proposals and certifications, such as the Agency's integration into the European Commission's Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (DG ECHO).
- Received an audit for the certification of the Organization and its services by the competent Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. It is noted that "The Smile of the Child" was certified for the second time for the provision of primary, secondary and tertiary social care. The certification is valid until 2024.
- Accepted control with the new legislative framework for the integration of the Organization in the National Register of Non-Governmental Organizations by the competent Ministry of Migration and Asylum.
- Receives regular unannounced inspections by the Social Service of the relevant Region under each House of the Organization (a total of 11 Houses nationwide). The audits concern the overall operation of each house (staff, hosted children, overview of children's histories, building issue, administrative issues, etc.) but also other regular bodies such as the Transparency Authority.
4. Regarding the number of children supported by "The Smile of the Child" and their reduction, as the publication claims:
- In 2018, the Organization supported 90,601 children and their families
- In 2019, the Organization supported 95,717 children and their families
- In 2020, the Organization supported 57,722 children and their families
- In 2021, the Organization supported 48,403 children and their families
It is noted that in 2020 and 2021 in the midst of a pandemic, key actions of the Organization were suspended due to relevant instructions and guidelines from the competent health authorities. This suspension is also due to the decrease in the number of supported children.
The main actions that suspended their operation are preventive medicine and dentistry in children, Creative activities for hospitalized children, Prevention interventions in schools.
However, it is noted that while in the 1st half of 2021 "The Smile of the Child" supported 23,828 children, in the 1st half of 2022 it supported 38,710 children, which confirms the gradual increase of supported children, with the expiration of the measures against the spread of the pandemic.
5. Regarding the Management Board of the Organization, the following participate:
- Chairman of the Board of Directors, Konstantinos Giannopoulos
- Vice president of the Board of Directors, Konstantinos Kotsilinis Former Auditor and Business Consultant
- Secretary General of the Board of Directors, Christos Kammilatos Director of the National Health System (ΕΣΥ) General Family Doctor
- Cashier of the Board of Directors, Ioannis Lambropoulos, Retired Fire Brigade Lieutenant General
- Member of the Board of Directors, Evagelia Malamaki Graduate mathematician of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
- Member of the Board of Directors, Eleftherios Samaras Managing Director of a private company
- Member of the Board of Directors, Pithagoras Papadimitriou Chief Executive of a Multinational Company
- Alternate member of the Management Board, Vasilios Orfanos President of a Technology Company
- Alternate member of the Management Board, Evagelia Karpouzopoulou Preschool Educator
- Alternate member of the Management Board, Ekaterini Xoupi Director of the Creative Department of an Advertising Agency
- Honorary member, Vasilios Makris, Honorary Deputy Prosecutor of the Supreme Court
- Honorary member, Crisoula Milona, former Juvenile Prosecutor
6. Regarding the personal course of Mr. Konstantinos Giannopoulos, and the spikes left by the publication:
Mr. Konstantinos Giannopoulos had an important professional career in the (at that time), newly established field of technology in Greece, from 1980 to 1995, when the course was violently interrupted when his 10-year-old, youngest son Andreas, fell ill. During his son's illness, he abandoned all business activities and devoted himself first to the child, and later to the realization of his son’s desire. His business activity was completed without any outstanding debts and transactions.
7. Regarding the dismissals of employees in 2010, cited by the publication:
Employees were fired due to an incident of abuse of a guest child. The Agency followed the legal procedure.
8. With regard to the dismissal of employees and the installation of cameras, cited in the publication:
There was no dismissal of employees due to their protests over the installation of cameras.
In the outdoor areas of the Organization, and exclusively for the protection of the hosted children, cameras were installed, with the knowledge of all and after the relevant authorization of the competent bodies and the Personal Data Protection Authority.
9. Regarding the statements of the Organization's employees, cited in the publication, about the inadequate staffing of the Organization's Homes:
In each Home, "The Smile of the Child" employs a 16-member team of employees of the following specialties: Social Worker, Psychologist, Educators/Pedagogs, Childminders, Teachers, Cook, Nurse, Cleaner, Drivers, Pediatricians, Legal Advisor.
10. With respect to the 3-4 reports of parents regarding the illegal detention of their children, cited in the publication:
All children residing in the Organization's Homes are accommodated following prosecutor's orders and court decisions.
It is also noted that:
To this date, "The Smile of the Child" has taken care of 1,044 children in the 11 Homes that operate nationwide, following relevant prosecutorial orders, and for each child the multidisciplinary team of the Organization seeks for the best solution.
From 2006 to today, "The Smile of the Child" has proceeded to reunite 378 children with their families, following relevant prosecutorial orders and court decisions.
From 2006 to today "The Smile of the Child" has rehabilitated 98 children through adoption and 30 children through fostering.
However, it is emphasized that:
Today, for 79 of the 126 children that "The Smile of the Child" has declared available for foster care, no connection proposal has arisen, with 59 of them being over 12 years old. For the remaining 47 children, although connection proposals arise, they are finally rejected by the prospective foster parents.
Today, for 6 of the 27 children that "The Smile of the Child" has declared for adoption, no connection proposal has arisen. All 6 children are over 12 years old. For the remaining 21 children, although connection proposals arise, they are finally rejected by the prospective adoptive parents.
11. Regarding the presence of children hosted in the Organization's Homes, in television shows, as stated in the publication:
Child volunteers, children hosted in the Homes, children of workers and volunteers coexisted in television shows, however these occurrences are extremely rare and in some cases with hosted children of other organizations.
12. With reference to the outstanding debts to building owners, as referred to in the publication:
"The Smile of the Child" covers every obligation with absolute consistency. It has no debts to the public, to third parties, to suppliers, to employees, etc.
Τhe Organization receives tax information for its various transactions and obligations almost every day.
13. With reference to the extremely few cases of abuse that have been recorded, as cited in the publication, the incident at the Organization’s House in Nea Iraklitsa Kavala and the constant supervision of the workers at the Houses:
In the 27 years of action, "The Smile of the Child" has addressed without any delay and with complete transparency to the competent Authorities (Police and Prosecutor's Office) to resolve problems or report incidents that have arisen regarding human resources, partners, supported children and families and has fully followed the procedure prescribed by the Authorities.
Specifically, regarding the incident at the Organization’s House in Nea Iraklitsa, Kavala, it is noted that immediately, after the inform of the Organization, the President and those in charge, voluntarily addressed themselves to the competent Prosecutorial Authorities. The procedure was followed in full, based on the instructions given by the Authorities. The investigation was completed without any incriminating evidence and the case was archived by the Court.
Each Home has an interdisciplinary team, which makes every effort to implement each child's individualized rehabilitation plan, always following the law and state procedures. While at the same time there is external supervision for the overall operation of the Home at every level (hosted children, employees, etc.).
14. With reference to the financial data of the Organization and the amount of 10 to 14 million that it shows as income, as cited in the publication:
"The Smile of the Child" has voluntarily established audit procedures internally and is also audited by independent external bodies:
- Annual financial audit by the independent international company of certified auditors Ernst and Young.
- Consulting services for the financial matters of the Organization and the proper operation of the Finance Department by one of the largest international consulting and audit firms, Deloitte.
- Internal Control System in which all procedures and control mechanisms are recorded through which the safe and efficient operation of the Organization is ensured at an organizational, financial and operational level.
- "The Smile of the Child" is informed of violations of the Code of Ethics, Code of Conduct for preventing and combating fraud and corruption (Ethics Antifraud and Anticorruption Policy) through the Whistle Blow Protection Mechanism (Whistle Blow Policy) that it has (Direct communication line 210 3306177 – Email: ia @hamogelo.gr).
Annually, the revenues of the Organization amount to 10 to 14 million euros and are in full correspondence with the expenses, which are of similar financial sizes.
15. With reference to the Organization's reserve, amounting to 6.2 million euros, referred to in the publication:
On December 31, 2021, there was a reserve of € 6,112,352.37, which came cumulatively from the previous years.
It is noted that every year, depending on the revenue and expenses of the Organization, a surplus or deficit is created.
In case of a surplus, the Organization's reserve is increased to cover needs and deal with possible future risks, as has happened in the past, e.g. capital controls, economic crisis, pandemic, etc
It is also noted that in the last five years, the only year that there was a surplus was 2019 and this resulted from the sale of the minority package of TITANIA shares.
"The Smile of the Child" owes, in principle, to the children and the families it supports, to ensure the sustainability of its actions under any circumstances, and this mentality is what has made it possible to continue the work of the Organization in its 27 years of operation.
For many years the actions continued precisely thanks to the surplus that existed.
16. In reference to the appeal of Kostas Yiannopoulos in May 2016 for support from the citizens, which the article mentions:
In 2016, the Organization had €3,125,000 available, which corresponded to 3 months of viability, taking into account that the average fixed costs amount to 1.2 million euros.
Respectively, in 2021 the available €6,112,352.37 corresponded to 5 months of viability of the Organization.
The total expenses of the Organization for the implementation of its actions in 2021 amounted to €15,438,000.91.
17. In reference to the increase in the salary expenses of the Organization from 2000 and 2011, which the article mentions:
From 2000 to 2011, collective bargaining agreements were diversified, with wages increasing by 62.89%.
In 2000 the basic salary on a 14-month basis was €465.2, while correspondingly in 2011 it was €739.6.
The quality characteristics of the employees changed in these eleven years, as there have been needs for new specializations and specialized graduates.
It should be noted that in order to carry out the Organization's work, every day, 24 hours a day, a large percentage of the employees work in 8 shifts with the corresponding legal increments.
In the intervening eleven years (2000 to 2011) "The Smile of the Child" developed its actions and increased the services provided to children and their families. In short, 31 new actions / services were developed, resulting in an increase in the number of employees.
1. A Home for children at risk in Peristeri operates.
2. The Organization's action begins in Patra.
3. Τwo Mobile Intensive Care Medical Units for newborns and children are acquired
4. The creative day care of hospitalized children at the "Aglaia Kyriakou" Children's Hospital begins
5. The creative day care of hospitalized children at the Hippocrates Hospital of Thessaloniki begins
6. Home for children at risk in Ancient Corinth operates
7. The Preventive Medicine and Dentistry Program for children begins
8. The National SOS Line 1056 acquires nationwide coverage
9. The creative day care of hospitalized children at the University Hospital of Patras (Rio) and the Karamandane Hospital of Patras begins
11. A Home for children at risk in Kareas operates
12. The creative day care of hospitalized children at the AHEPA Hospital of Thessaloniki begins
13. There is a Home for children in Maroussi
14. The Organization's action begins in Chalkida
15. Home for children at risk in Melissia operates
16. There is a Day Care Home in Pyrgos - Ilias
17. The operation of Amber Alert Hellas begins
18. A Home for children at risk in Kyllini operates
19. Those affected by the devastating fires in the prefecture of Ilia are fully supported
20. "The Smile of the Child" is recognized as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
21. The operation of the 116000 European Hotline for Missing Children begins in Greece
22. A Home for children at risk in Finika Kalamaria is in operation
23. A Child and Family Support Center operates in Marousi, Attica
24. A Mobile Medical Intensive Care Unit for newborns and children is acquired
25. Operates a Day Care Home in Mytika, Evia
26. A Child and Family Support Center operates in Ilion
27. The Child and Family Support Center in Thessaloniki operates
28. Operates a Home for children with serious health problems who, following a public prosecutor's order or abandonment, are not with their biological family
29. The South East European Center for Missing and Exploited Children operates
30. A Child and Family Support Center operates in Corinth
31. Home for children at risk in Moschato operates
32. A Mobile Medical Intensive Care Unit for newborns and children is acquired
18. Regarding the increase in the salaries of the management staff between 2011 and 2014, which the article mentions:
From 2011 to 2014, for the implementation of the Organization's actions and the new ones that emerged during the four-year period, the number of employees rose from 311 to 416. Of the 105 new people, 29 were management personnel.
It is noted that "The Smile of the Child" has the smallest number of administrative staff internationally with a percentage that in 2021 amounted to 12.23%.
1. A Home for children at risk in Moschato operates
2. A Mobile Medical Intensive Care Unit for newborns and children is acquired
3. "The Smile of the Child" undertakes the implementation of the European campaign against school bullying (Europe's Anti Bullying Campaign)
4. The Panhellenic Center for Direct Social Intervention with headquarters in Athens operates
5. The "Thanasis Makris" search and rescue team is created
6. The YouSmile Voluntary Student Network is created
7. A Home for children at risk in Aigio operates
8. Day Care Home in Agrinio operates
9. A Child and Family Support Center operates in Corfu
10. The activity of the Organization begins in Chania
11. The Organization's action begins in Larissa
12. The activity of "Odysseus" begins, the 1st Mobile Education and Technology Information Workshop
13. Infodesks operate in Europe on child trafficking
14. Acquire three Mobile Medical Intensive Care Units for newborns and children
19. In reference to the Agency's complaints about ENFIA, cited in the publication:
"The Smile of the Child" considers that every 1 euro of taxation is essentially deprived of children in need.
20. In reference to the surplus of three million, cited in the publication:
The available funds of 2017 mentioned in the publication and amounting to €2,8282,518.89, are wrongly stated as a surplus, since in this particular year there was a deficit and the obligations of the Organization were covered by utilizing the reserve.
21. Regarding, as the publication states, the sudden doubling of expenses for "purchase of operating materials to support activities":
It incorrectly refers to the year 2016, as it corresponds to 2015 and concerns the development of the Organization's items department (invitations and other items) with the aim of securing the necessary resources for the survival of the actions.
22. Regarding the increase in staff costs between 2017 and 2018, cited in the publication:
In 2016 to 2017 there was an increase in staff by 20 people.
In 2017 to 2018 there was an increase in staff by 15 people.
So, in one two years the staff increased by 35 employees.
In addition to the above, "The Smile of the Child" in 2015 was forced to reduce salaries in order to respond to the economic crisis that was plaguing the country, to cope with the needs and to continue its work without interruption.
In the years that followed and when the situation improved, the Organization proceeded with a gradual restoration of the workers' salaries.
23. Regarding the account in a Swiss bank, mentioned in the article:
"The Child's Smile" maintains accounts in various banks in Greece and abroad, as well as the specific Swiss one mentioned in the article.
In 2019, the sale of the TITANIA hotel was completed, with "The Smile of the Child" owning the minority package of shares. The amount of 15 million euros that arose and for the spread of risk was decided to be shared among three different banks, two in Greece and one abroad.
The bank account in the Swiss bank pre-existed as a donation was chosen and deposited there by the Dutch Foundation Dr. Basile Khoudokormaff Charitable Foundation for the construction of a Hospitality House in Heraklion, Crete, which will be operational immediately.
In any case, any bank transaction in the accounts maintained by "The Smile of the Child" in Greece requires two signatures, of the President and Vice President of the Board of Directors and/or the Treasurer of the Board of Directors. and abroad requires three signatures of the President, the Vice-President and the Treasurer of the Board of Directors. of the organism.
24. Regarding the management of real estate:
The Organization has an organized department for the management of properties, which are utilized in the best possible way.
"The Smile of a Child" acquires real estate by inheritance and/or donation while alive. The procedure followed is completely transparent and as defined by the Legislation.
For the properties that come from inheritances, which is the largest percentage, there is a file in the Department of Public Interest Properties of the Ministry of Finance that analyzes the Agency's actions for each one.
The process for each property is different, often extremely time-consuming, costly and complicated.
The properties are used for the children supported by the Organization, for the accommodation of its adult children, for children with health problems and their families, for the accommodation of mothers who are victims of domestic violence and their children, and of course they are used in emergency situations such as indicative natural disasters, hosting Ukrainian refugees, etc.
The properties of the Organization are utilized on a case-by-case basis, depending on their characteristics. For some there is co-ownership status, some require repair/renovation, some have been bequeathed/donated under certain conditions, some are leased.
25. Regarding the cooperation of the Organization with GREEK POLICE:
"The Child's Smile" has no conflict with the greek police., on the contrary, the collaboration is timeless and of substantial benefit to society and children. Cooperation is not limited to the area of disappearances of minors and adults but also in other areas such as abuse, trafficking, illegal bargaining, etc.
"The Smile of the Child" within the framework of the Cooperation Agreement is active in the management of cases of disappearance of adults aged 18 to 60 who are at risk (mental deprivation, psychological problems, etc.), who are missing after accidents and natural disasters (fire, earthquake, shipwreck , landslides, floods, etc.), who face serious health problems and/or need medication (orientation problems, psychological problems, suicidal tendencies, mental deprivation, etc.).
"The Smile of the Child" has the experience, expertise, infrastructure and human resources to respond to the needs of neglected adults while ensuring their dignity and personal data.