“Reinforcing Children’s Social Welfare Services at regional level in response to children’s social exclusion policy implementation – RIDE”

Donor: UNICEF – Albania
Implementing entity: Observatory for Children Rights (OCR)

1. Executive Summary
Observatory role in this year (May 2013 – May 2014), in harmonize approach with CRU, will consist in coordination and harmonization of all social welfare structures at regional and local level to that ensure that no child is excluded from the enjoyment of its rights. This new approach will help to design an integrated, coordinated child aware approach to social care and protection service provision, which currently is still lacking – particularly at the regional/local level.

2. Background information
Children’s right policies are an important component of the National Strategy for Development and Integration 2007 – 2013 (NSDI) as well as the Strategy for Social Inclusion. These documents explicitly refer to the necessity to implement laws concerning the protection and promotion of children’s rights, in particular with regard to the right to live, the right to healthcare, education, and normal development. Besides the above mentioned strategy which guides the formulation of sectoral and inter-sectoral policies on the rights of the child, the principal objectives as well as the short, mid and long term interventions directly benefiting children are detailed in the National Plan of Action 2012 – 2015.

According to the law on the “Protection of the Rights of the Child”, the SPARC in collaboration with CRU s (in 12 regions) are mandated to monitor and coordinate policies that ensure that no child is excluded from the enjoyment of its rights. The five core DCM s adopted recently by the government appeal for coordination and harmonization of all social welfare structures at regional and local level to guarantee children rights. However, despite these commitments, children’s rights to social welfare have remained largely unrecognized by national, regional and local decision-makers. Improved coordination of the existing social welfare resources are needed through: first better measuring the exclusion of children (specific problem 1); and second, formulating effective intervention vis-à-vis child’s social exclusion (specific problem 2).

3. Problem statement
ACA supported by UNICEF helped to put into place a network of civil society run child observatories in all 12 regions. The observatories have been assembling data and generating analysis of increasing quality –including on a public website – related to children. They work closely with the government-run CRUs and CPUs where they exist, as well as regional Education and Health Directorates, State Social Services and other authorities and service providers. Data on the situation of children for each commune (or aggregated by district, region or nation-wide) district and region is available on www. aca.org.al.

Key local actors, responsible and the only Local government institutions titled to protect and ensure child protection, identify the need for better coordination among them for ensuring the immediate and best solution for child at risk. Experts of Observatory in the Region, thanks to UNICEF envision and encouragements have been one of the first experts in drafting and compiling regional strategy for children rights. In their daily work, experts once have faced cases of child at risk has identified and has set up communication and with all local actors, ex.: 4 cases by Kukesi office, 2 cases by Fier office, 3 cases by SHkodra offices, and others. Children leaving in poor families, which are part of children explore to risk, is present with high numbers and figures in project selected area (based on data of year 2010, for children aged 6-15 years old leaving in families supported by economic aid): Kukesi 46.56%, Fier 4.92%, Shkodra 20.49%.

Overall objective: Developing a comprehensive and sustainable approach to implementing the child’s social welfare policies to prevent child’s exclusion and ensure protection of the rights of the child.
Specific objective 1: Improvement of public sector and civil society response to children’s inclusion ensured through the evidence based policy analysis.

Specific objective 2: Provision of an inclusive package of services for the most vulnerable children in an integrated manner.

Meeting specific objectives 1 & 2 will help to increase the understanding about the impact that social inclusion policies have in determining the scope and quality of services available to children’s in critical need of protection and care. Therefore, the project “Reinforcing Children’s Social Welfare Services at regional level in response to children’s social exclusion”, developing a comprehensive and sustainable approach to implementing the child’s social welfare policies, will effectively contribute to prevent child’s exclusion and protect the rights of the child, which is the overall objective of the project. In this way, the submitted project will provide effective support to the implementation of the law on the Protection of the Rights of the Child as well as the NPA 2012-2015.

This project, aiming to serve in children expose to risk and excluded by the system, will target all vulnerable children leaving in 12 regions of the country. Implementation of this project will influence and as cross-cutting instrument for all results mention in this call; but the main result that this project will address, are:

  • Contributing to the implementation and monitoring of the Law on Protection of the Rights of the Child and its by-laws, focusing on children most at risk.
  • Increasing awareness on child rights (e.g. through provision of training) amongst all professional groups working for and with children, in particular law enforcement officials.
  • Supporting decentralization of implementation of legislation and policies on the rights of the child at local government level, and contributing to the functioning of child right mechanisms at local level (child rights units, child protection units).
  • Contributing to the prevention of school dropout, in particular of children from vulnerable groups and girls in rural and remote areas.

Project target group are Children at risk or in need of social protection; Families with children exposed to poverty and/or at high risk of exclusion; Local government and local/regional government institutions; civil society.

Project final beneficiaries are Children, especially excluded children or at risk of exclusion, therefore in need of social welfare services.

Estimated results of this project are:
Result 1: Data management and analytical capacity of the civil-society run child observatories will be integrated with the legislated state and local government institutions for the protection of children, in five regions. The model of “One stop shop” will be elaborated and designed.
Result 2: The transformation of the CRU into a Social Welfare Regional Service for children within the Regional Council structures to effectively implement DCM264-267 date 12 April 2012 with respect to service provision and effective policy coordination. The piloting process of “One stop shop”.

Activities description per each Objective of the project:
Specific Objective 1 and its activities:
Activity 1.1: Building partnership and institutional cooperation within the selected region to produce evidence based analysis vis-à-vis the implementation of social inclusion and welfare policies.
Activity 1.2: Assessment of the children’s needs for social welfare services, based on International standard and actual service provide to them.
Activity 1.3: Evidence based analysis of social welfare services available to assess the quality of the social welfare services provided in comparison with National Standards (guaranteed by the law) and EU standards.
Activity 1.4: Assessment and mapping of existing institutional capacities, roles and duties in the 5 selected regions vis-a-vis the implementation of DCMs 264-267, date 12 April 2012.
Activity 1.5: Design the model of “One Stop Shop” in the provision of social welfare services for children in the 5 selected regions.

Specific Objective 2 and its activities:
Activity 2.1: Formalization of the detailed plan of action on how to transform existing institutions into a unified and sustainable government mechanism designed to ensure that no child remains excluded.
Activity 2.2: Strengthen capacities of government institutions and civil society at regional level on law enforcement.
Activity 2.3: Production of more effective services for children based on the coordination and harmonization of existing capacities.
Activity 2.4: Implementation of the “One Stop Shop Model”.
Activity 2.5: Awareness raising/advocacy to encourage the functioning of the model across the country.