Shkodër on August 29th, 2013
Information regarding the meeting organised in Shkodër in the framework of the project “Empowering Social Welfare Services on a regional level, as a response to the implementation of non social exclusion policies for children – RIDE”
The Observatory for Children’s Rights in Shkodër in collaboration with the Children’s Rights Unit and support from UNICEF representatives in Albania, on the 29th of August 2013, organised in the conference room of the District of Shkodër, the first meeting with the team responsible for the implementation of the project: “Empowering of Social Welfare Services for Children on a regional level, as a response to the implementation of non social exclusion policies for children”.
In this meeting were participants the representatives of local institutions (Regional Office of the Regional Social Service; Regional Health Department Shkodër), representatives of local NGO-s, employees of the children’s rights unit in the commune and social administrators.
The meeting was organised according to the program by starting with the presentation of the participants. Afterwards, Mrs. Elma Tërshana, director of the project, presented the activity of the Observatory for Children’s Rights and the project “Empowering of Social Welfare Services for Children on a regional level, as a response to the implementation of non social exclusion policies for children”.
This project, among other things, aims at identifying cases of child abuse that the current protection system cannot identify. If we talk about children who live in poverty and are part of the economic assistance scheme, we must include in this poverty definition also families whose application to economic assistance has been declined or even those families that because of procedures cannot apply at all. Also the participants received information regarding the territorial expansion of the project in the districts of Fier and Kukës.
Mrs. Anila Gurakuqi presented an exposé of the Observatory’s work, achievements and successful collaboration with regional institutions; civil society organisations and especially with the Children’s Rights Unit and the Social Services Department at the Shkodër District Council.
The representative of the Children’s Rights Unit, Mr. Jozef Serrmi, stated that this project is important and indispensable for the coordination of problematic cases of children that need to be included in social services. He accentuated the fact that the situation in the District of Shkodër does not look well regarding the creation of Children’s Rights Units near the Communes. From 33 administrative unit of the district only 7 units, including the Municipality of Shkodër, have built the Children’s Rights Unit.
– The project’s office RIDE will make possible the coordination and harmonisation of all social welfare structures on a regional and local level, in order to make certain that no child gets excluded from exercising their rights. Such thing will be realised by networking challenges/difficulties, current achievements and capacities. This new initiative will help offering integrated services for children (not only benefits from the economic assistance scheme, but from other social welfare fields as well).
– Encouraging and lobbing for local units to create Children’s Rights Units. It is important to further empower these new structures and enable them to refer; orient; coordinate and also solve problematic cases of children in collaboration with other actors (Mr. Jozef, CRU).
– Problematic are the cases of uneducated children. From a visit of the director of World Vision Shkodër in the village Bardhaj of the Commune of Rrehina, it resulted that there were uneducated children in 3 families. It is important that these individual cases become issues to be resolved. During the meeting regarding these specific cases, Mrs. Neta Pero, oriented and informed the participants that it is possible to attend school by correspondence at the Primary school ‘’P. Vasa’’ Shkodër. The participants had the opportunity to exchange information and practices regarding solving and coordinating cases of children.
– It is recommended that the Children’s Protection Unit functions in Communes as a specific structure. Article 39 of the children’s legal framework, 1st point, determines that it can be a specific structure or as unit of the social affairs structures. The great amount of work requires that specialised people in children affairs are responsible for this unit. (Mrs. Arlinda from World Vision)
– The case referring mechanism must be more functional and be further empowered. The law has clearly determined inter institutional links and those of the civil society but there must be more cooperation between them. (Mrs. Alketa, Director of the Regional Social Service).
– The structures of the Children’s Protection Units in the Communes and the structures responsible for the coordination of work cases, performance and reciprocal collaboration must be supervised. The organisation of monthly meetings or every 2 months is highly recommended to share cases, distribute reports in order to create good practices for the solving of problematic cases. (Mr. Altin from the Psychological Counselling Centre).
– Building an online database of all referred cases for solving from local actors. (Mrs. Elma, National Observatory).
-Define case referring procedures and appropriate protocol.
The Commune of Postribë and the Commune of Ana e Malit refer that they currently have 9 problematic cases. (The Commune of Postribë has 5 cases and the Commune of Ana e Malit has 4 cases). The employee of the Children’s Protection Unit in the Commune of Postribë accentuates the accuracy of the law but currently the work of this unit is based on good will and individual morals for solving problematic cases. Detail the work description of the CPU employee in the Communes and ask local government to increase the number of employees in this structure. (Mr. Dashamir, CPU Postribë).
– The lack of a psychologist in the schools of the Commune is an issue that needs to be addressed. In the Commune there is no psychologist and in the city one psychologist works with 2500 students. The amount of work does not permit the offering of a qualitative service.
– SOS Villages for children address the issue of 3 orphans regarding accommodation and inclusion in the economic assistance scheme. Also, orphans leaving the orphanages are a highlighted problem. They have difficulties to be included in social life and often are victims of abuse. (Mrs. Jonida, SOS Shkodër).
Anilda Gurakuqi (Shestani)
Observatory for Children’s Rights Expert, Shkodër