Unsustainable social services

Unsustainable social services

Social services are provided by Centers for Social Work, other public providers and from around 50 non-governmental organizations licensed to provide social services. In the territory of Kosovo, there are 38 Centers for Social Work, in 38 municipalities with around 404 officials, out of which 164 are social service officials. Centers for Social Work are the main bodies of municipal public authorities mandated to provide social services for children and families in need and to coordinate the integrated system of services. Centers for Social Work do not have the necessary human and financial resources for the provision of social services. Centers for Social Work were overwhelmed with emergency response, leaving aside preventive and reintegrated services. This was not only as a consequence of the insufficient number of officials in the Centers for Social Work, but also due to not setting the formula regarding the number of social service officials needed, in relation with the number of population or number of cases. Highest case load in relation to social services officials, are registered in bigger municipalities, such as in the Center for Social Work in Ferizaj, which presented that one official has 270 cases per year, and the Center for Social Work Prishtina, which presented that one official has 318 cases per year. More than half of Centers for Social Work have difficult or impossible accessibility for children with disabilities. It is worth noting that only 12 social workers are employed in the Centers for Social Work.

50 licensed non-governmental organizations have provided specialized services for special categories of children. Specifically, 10 shelters have provided 24-hour residential services for the protection, rehabilitation and reintegration of children victims of domestic violence, abuse, neglect and trafficking. Approximately 30-Day Care Centers for children and adults with disabilities have provided social services on daily basis for early intervention for children with disabilities, psychosocial, rehabilitation and counseling services and services to empower parents of children with disabilities. Other services provided by non-governmental organizations include services in support of alternative care for children without parental care, such as services for children without parental care in foster families and SOS families, services for family empowerment and prevention of child abandonment, support for young people. Services are also offered to children that use narcotic substances.

The main challenge for social service providers from the nongovernmental sector, remains the unsustainable financing for the provision of social services from the Ministry of Finance, Labor and Transfers and from the municipalities. The draft Law on Local Government Finances, finalized a few years ago, which is expected to establish the Specific Grant for Social Services and to regulate sustainable financing of social services, has not been approved yet. Municipalities and the Ministry have not created a sustainable contracting scheme for the purchase of social services from the nongovernmental sector, and support to non-governmental organizations has been provided on ad hoc basis and through subsidies.

Financial means allocated for the nongovernmental organization’s projects are considered insufficient and they cover only a small portion of the overall services costs. The budget allocated by municipalities is mainly divided proportionally in equal amounts among service providers, without taking into account the needs of the beneficiaries. This manner of financing risks the termination of services provided by the non-governmental sector.

Likewise, the sustainable contracting scheme and needs based funding cannot be achieved without setting a costing of social services and a financing formula. The process of calculating costs and establishing a financing formula, started five years ago but has not been completed yet. Likewise, there was no mapping of services and population needs for services that would inform municipal and central policy makers in creating programs and planning services according to the needs.

Accountability in the field of social services, continues to be unregulated. Monitoring and inspection mandate of social services has continued to be unclear and undefined. The Unit for Monitoring and Inspection within the Ministry does not have executive powers yet, it has only an advisory function, which weakens the role of inspection in front of social service providers. Likewise, the small number of staff for the inspection of social service providers is a challenge, as actually there are only two officials appointed to perform inspections. During 2022, out of about 120 providers of public and non-governmental social services, only 8 inspections were carried out.  Structured data management processes are not fully functional.

Another disadvantage is the fact that only Centers for Social Work have access to this database, data on beneficiaries from the nongovernmental and private providers of social services, are not included.

An important achievement was the approval of the new Law on Social and Family Services, started five years ago, which develops the reform of social services.

For the first time in 2022, Ministry of Finance, Labor and Transfers has started to develop the necessary training programs for social services that are subject to accreditation process.  Therefore, this initiative is a positive step in increasing capacities of social service providers.


  • Map existing social services and current needs in each municipality, to precisely identify missing services and plan their development. This would also help in realistic annual planning of services according to needs and budget planning based on evidence;
  • Set a formula for the employment of social services officials by the Ministry, in accordance to the needs of population and establishing of the minimum standards to set the workload per official and the average number
  • of cases to be handled;
  • Increase the number of employees with work profiles of “social worker” and “psychologist” in all Centers for Social Work;
  • Provide sufficient and appropriate work spaces in Centers for Social Work, for those which do not have such spaces. Ensuring accessibility for children with disabilities to the Centers for Social Work, according to standards defined in A.I. 33/2007 and to international standards;
  • Establish a sustainable scheme by the Ministry and municipalities on social and family services contracting,
  • from the non-governmental sector. Ministry and municipalities must increase the financing threshold for social services, must reduce time gaps between calls for service providers, finance services for a threeyears’ time period and sign contracts with the licensed organizations;
  • Approve the Law on Local Government Finances in order to establish the specific grant for social and family
  • Financing formula for social services should derive the cost per unit for each beneficiary for social services;
  • Amend the Law on Public Procurement in order to establish a specific and simple mechanism for the purchase of social services;
  • Review and modify of Centers for Social Work database, as well as identification of data management modalities in order to be informed in real time, including the data of beneficiaries provided from the non-governmental and private social services providers, monitoring data and evaluation data;