The Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection – KOMF welcomes the decision of the Government to start implementing the measure for the application of child benefit, which has been documented in many countries around the world as the most effective instrument for poverty reduction and which is implemented in almost all European countries.
KOMF since 2015 has sent recommendations to the Governments of Kosovo and to political parties for the planning and implementation of child benefit.
Through a letter with recommendations, KOMF has provided a contribution to the Ministry of Finance, Labor and Transfers for the improvement of the scheme for child benefit by presenting the current shortcomings and proposals that need to be addressed.
- Child benefit are currently enabled through electronic application – ekosova. In the absence of information, skills or even electronic devices, many parents may be deprived of this right to apply for child benefit. KOMF has recommended that in addition to the application in electronic form, to enable the application in physical form by parents / legal guardians. In the absence of information, skills or even electronic devices, many parents may be deprived of this right to apply for child benefit. KOMF has recommended that in addition to the application in electronic form, to enable the application in physical form by parents / legal guardians.
- KOMF has proposed that child benefit scheme must be revised to include children up to the age of 18. Legislation in Kosovo but also the Convention on the Rights of the Child determines the age of the child up to 18 years. Involvement of children up to the age of 18 is necessary, especially given the fact that currently there is no applicable scheme for supporting children aged 16-18 or empowering young people.
- KOMF emphasizes that the current foreseen amount of child benefit is insufficient to meet the needs of children. However, KOMF appreciates the initiative to start implementing child benefit, because we believe it will pave the way for the creation of a sustainable scheme in the upcoming years. In order to support children’s needs, KOMF recommends to prioritize child benefit and increase the amount of the scheme during the budget planning for the next year.
- In the decision to establish terms and conditions for the partial implementation of the measure 3.5, paragraph 4, it is foreseen that the application for child benefit can be made by the mother, and in the absence of the mother can be made by the father and legal guardian. However, the current online platform ekosova, allows the application for child allowances only to the mother, as long as it does not allow the application by the father or legal guardian. KOMF requests that the online platform must be reviewed to enable the application by both the father and the legal guardian. Enabling the application for child benefit by the legal guardian is especially necessary for children without parental care for whom, in the absence of the parents, the legal guardian exercises full rights and responsibilities for the child.
- The child benefit scheme is made possible under the Economic Recovery Package. To ensure the sustainability of child allowances beyond this package, KOMF recommends that the Ministry of Finance, Labor and Transfers must plan the drafting of the Law on Child Benefit. In this process, the most appropriate model of child benefit for the context of Kosovo should be carefully analysed and decided in advance. Practices and models from the countries of the region and Europe are different regarding child benefit. The two main models of child benefit are as follows: Universal child benefit, which means unconditional transfers/benefit for all families with children regardless of their incomes level, economic status or employment status. Another model of child benefit is the determination or escalation of the amount of allowances based on annual family incomes, economic status and employment status, number of children in the family, age and needs of children.
KOMF together with member organizations is ready to contribute to this process with the aim of jointly providing the best model of child benefit to support children and parents.