19 November 2020
KOMF, on the eve of the International Day of the Convention on Child Rights, addressed an official request toward Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti, the Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Skender Reçica and the Minister of Finance, Hykmete Bajrami, requesting immediate measures to prevent the closure of services for children in need and the long-term solution of financing of social services.
Concretely, KOMF asked:
- • Immediate measures to prevent the temporary closure of shelter services for children without parental care, victims of violence and abuse, victims of trafficking (low level of risk) in January 2021, by announcing as soon as possible the public call from Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare for financing direct social services provided by licensed shelters.
- Immediate measures to regulate the mechanism of sustainable funding for all social services for vulnerable children, such as children with disabilities, children in foster care or children involved in child labour, by publishing regular calls in order to avoid uncovered gaps between calls, which happens every year and results in temporary closure of social services.
- Proceed as soon as possible the process of approval of the Draft Law on Local Government Finance (which is currently being drafted), which foresees creation of a Specific Grant for Social Services, in order to solve the long-term problem of financing social services.
Service providers licensed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare which provide residential services are continuing to face financial instability. Social and residential services for children in need are partially funded by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare through public calls every year. Every year there are gaps between calls / contracts for support, leaving these providers without financial support, at the beginning of every year.
This year, too, the shelters have financed only until December 31, 2020. Due to lack of funding, the shelters risk being temporarily closed from January 1, 2021. The closure of provision of these services, even temporarily, will leave the accommodated children homeless, and will also close the door for new cases that may be in need for shelter, thus violating children’s fundamental right for protection.
Service providers for other vulnerable children are also facing a difficult situation. Service providers through day care centers and family and community services, have not received any financial support during 2020, from MLSW.
KOMF warns that unless immediate measures are taken to prevent the closure of social and residential services for children or those in need for shelter, the rights and well-being of children in Kosovo will be severely violated in an unprecedented manner.
KOMF is aware that the general economic situation has worsened as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the protection of the fundamental rights of children should be an absolute priority for the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, placing this priority before capital investments.