9 July 2020
Joint statement of the Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection – KOMF, the Ombudsperson Institution, the Association of Kosovo Municipalities and the Association of Centers for Social Work of Kosovo
In order to implement the reform of social and family services, the Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection – KOMF (with 31 member organizations), the Ombudsperson Institution, the Association of Kosovo Municipalities and the Association of Centers for Social Work of Kosovo, publish the “Position paper with proposals for drafting the new Law on Social and Family Services”.
The Government of Kosovo has planned to draft and approve the new Law on Social and Family Services by November of this year. Therefore, KOMF, the Ombudsperson Institution, the Association of Kosovo Municipalities and the Association of Centers for Social Work of Kosovo, provide proposals for drafting the new Law on Social and Family Services, for the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare which is bearer of the draft law drafting process, the Government, the Assembly and other institutions that are part of the process.
We consider that the inclusion of proposals is urgent given the serious situation of social services in Kosovo, which has been further aggravated during the pandemic Covid-19. KOMF has conducted a series of consultations with member organizations and partners to bring the views of key actors regarding the drafting of the new Law on Social and Family Services.
The position paper and proposals are also based on the KOMF’s monitoring report for social services, which brings evidence from the field on the difficult situation of social services in the country. We emphasize that the Law in force on Social and Family services does not provide comprehensive social services such as prevention and integration services and as a result the system treats and manages only serious emergencies that endanger life or well-being or “cases of victims to any form of abuse” Consequently, only a small proportion of citizens in need have the opportunity to benefit from social services.
The applicable law does not clearly define accountability mechanisms, including monitoring, and does not foresee for the application of measures, fines and sanctions by the Inspection Unit. The Law in force does not foresee the licensing of public services provided by CSWs or other public institutions and the accreditation of social services programs neither. Moreover, the Law in force does not foresee the integration of social services with health and education services.
In order to provide quality social services for all citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, KOMF, the Ombudsperson Institution, the Association of Kosovo Municipalities and the Association of Centers for Social Work of Kosovo, publicly request that the new Law on Social and Family Services include and address the following proposals:
- Development of social service reform by defining prevention, protection, rehabilitation and integration services, as well as classifying services into three categories / levels: primary, secondary and tertiary, thus guaranteeing the right to social services for all citizens in need, regardless of the level of urgency or risk.
- Integration of social and family services with health and education services.
- Re-organization of social and family services and empowerment of an open-type scheme for providing of services between the public and non-governmental/private providers, clear definition of social services which can be contracted by the non-governmental and private sector, services that can be provided in cooperation with other providers and services that cannot be contracted but are provided exclusively by the public sector.
- Strengthen family and community-based services, as well as increase the forms of protection by: a) Developing foster care after reaching the age of 18, b) Developing the protection form of “Supervised Independent Living”.
- Increase the quality of social services, through: a) Re-organizing and profiling of social workers according to the category of service beneficiaries, b) Licensing of public services offered by CSW, licensing of entities (non-governmental and private sector) and of social workers, c) Accreditation of programs for social service trainings and continued education, according to the profiling.
- Increase accountability through clear definition of monitoring and inspection mechanisms, by providing executive powers to the inspection unit, imposing measures, fines and sanctions, as well as providing external monitoring and evaluation by the non-governmental and private sector.
- Provide sustainable financing of social services through the drafting of a financing formula and the establishment of a Specific Grant for Social Services.
The Position Paper on the Law on Social and Family Services was prepared in frame of the project “Joint Action for Decentralization”, funded by the European Union, managed by the European Union Office in Kosovo, and implemented by Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection KOMF in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages, Organization for Children without Parental Care – OFAP and KMOP.