The entry into force of the Law on Child Protection in 2020 has created a new legal momentum in terms of child protection in the Republic of Kosovo. This momentum and legal obligation require the institutions to undertake concrete actions to implement the provisions of this Law, which according to its content, is the first of its kind in the Republic of Kosovo.
In order to efficiently implement the provisions of the Law on Child Protection, respectively the protection of the rights of the child, there is a need for awareness, mobilization and raising of capacities about the role and responsibilities starting from the family, child protection institutions and the community.
The Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection in Kosovo – KOMF, during the months of September – December 2022, in cooperation with the Office for Good Governance in frame of the Prime Minister Office of Kosovo, and with the support of UNICEF Office in Kosovo, with the aim of awareness raising among institutions, has conducted a series of workshops in the municipalities of the Republic of Kosova with over 400 professionals working in the child protection field.
These workshops were attended from representatives of the Cabinets of Mayors, the relevant Municipal Directorates for Education, Health and Social Welfare, schools and preschool institutions, Centers for Social Work, Kosovo Police, courts, prosecutors’ offices, Ombudsperson Institution, the Office of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, the Ministry of Finance, Labor and Transfers, the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, representatives of NGOs and international organizations, etc.
Based on the findings from the discussions and exchanges during the workshops, KOMF states:
• Despite the fact that the Law on Child Protection entered into force on July 19, 2020, this Law is not being implemented. The vast majority of child protection professionals did not have knowledge on the responsibilities arising from the Law on Child Protection, nor the innovations brought by this Law.
• From a total of 17 Administrative Instructions foreseen under the Law on Child Protection, only 6 of them have been approved until now.
• The main institutional mechanism foreseen by the Law on Child Protection at the municipal level, the Team for the Rights of the Child has not yet been established in all municipalities, namely this Team has been established in only 11 municipalities of Kosovo so far.
• The new services and programs foreseen in the Law on Child Protection have not yet been established. These include services and programs for the treatment of children victims of drug abuse, the protection of children in conflict with the law without criminal responsibility, the protection of children involved in hazardous forms of labor, children in street situation, programs for the empowerment of parents for the well-being of children, establishment of the national free phone line for children and child protection homes.
• There is lack of human and financial capacity to implement the provisions of the Law on Child Protection, as a result of non-prioritization and non-allocation of the necessary budget for child protection.
• Until now, there has been no process of monitoring or inspection by any institution (Assembly, Government, Municipality) regarding the level of implementation of the Law on Child Protection.
Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection, requires:
• Distribution the Law on Child Protection and approved bylaws with all professionals.
• Approval of the remaining 11 Administrative Instructions, foreseen by the Law on Child Protection.
• Accreditation of programs for the implementation of the Law on Child Protection and the inclusion of trainings for the implementation of this law in the training calendar, as an obligation for professionals on an annual basis.
• The establishment and functionality of mechanisms at central and municipal level, such as the Child Protection Council at the central level and the Team for the Rights of Child at the municipal level.
• The development of programs and the establishment of new services foreseen in the Law on Child Protection, by the relevant Ministries and municipalities, depending on the competences, such as services for the treatment of children victims of drug abuse, the protection of children in conflict with the law without criminal responsibility, the protection of children involved in hazardous forms of labor, children in street situation, parent empowerment programs for the well-being of children, the establishment of a national free phone line for children and child protection homes.
• Organization of awareness raising campaigns for parents, children and citizens regarding the obligations and responsibilities for child protection.
• Adequate budget planning at the central and municipal level for increasing human and financial capacities for the efficient implementation of the Law on Child Protection.
• Inspection of the implementation of the Law on Child Protection in municipalities, by the relevant central level inspection authority, in the field of health, social welfare and education.
• Monitoring of the implementation of the Law on Child Protection by the relevant Assembly Committees for health, social welfare and education.
Considering the current situation of children, lack of adequate services and the immediate need for intervention to guarantee their protection, KOMF appeals on institutions to immediately undertake all the necessary steps for the rigorous and comprehensive implementation of the Law on Child Protection.