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1. Action research – to influence and advocate for reforms Hypothesis: separation of children from their families is an indicator of vulnerability of.

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Presentation on theme: "1. Action research – to influence and advocate for reforms Hypothesis: separation of children from their families is an indicator of vulnerability of."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Action research – to influence and advocate for reforms Hypothesis: separation of children from their families is an indicator of vulnerability of a family and can be prevented with a a combination of social assistance and social services (components of social protection). Research questions: What is the impact of current social assistance schemes and social services on the most vulnerable? What are the barriers to access of these (if any)? Timing: Research in 2011, in 2012 – global SP framework, repackage of findings Methodology: Mixed methods (desk review, qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis) Sources of information: Survey data, semi-structured interviews with key (30/country) stakeholders, focus group discussions ( 4 groups w 10 participants each / country) with parents who are service users / receipients of SA and with services providers. Coverage: Albania (2 municipalities), Kazakhstan (3 regions) and Ukraine (2 regions): urban/rural Focus of the study: «Keeping families together – making social protection more effective for children»

3 3 Rationale for the research Source: EU Daphné Programme (2004)

4 1.3 million children in alternative care, out of which 50% in large scale residential care – largest rate of alternative care placements in the world (?) – a result of the “pull-effect” of the system Increasing separation of children from families in spite of efforts to ” reform ” the system Background on CEE/CIS

5 UNICEF Regional office CEE/CIS5 Children w. disability over-represented in care and benefiting less from reforms

6 UNICEF Regional office CEE/CIS6 Children under 3 in residential care – most vulnerable and not prioritized

7 UNICEF’s work in child protection in CEE/CIS Cash transfers (including pensions, child benefits, poverty-targeted, seasonal) Food transfers Nutritional supplementation; Provision of ARVs Public works Birth registration User fee abolition Health insurance Exemptions, vouchers, subsidies Specialized services to ensure equitable access for all Family support services Home-based care Accessible Childcare services Minimum and equal pay legislation Employment guarantee schemes Maternity and paternity leave Removal of discriminatory legislation or policies affecting service provision/access or employment Inheritance rights Social Transfers Programs to access services Support and care Legislation REFORM OF EXISTING SERVICES

8 UNICEF Social Protection Work an overview Show and Tell on Social Protection Bonn, 2011 SNAPSHOT OF FINDINGS -Access -Barriers to access -Impact -Barriers to impact

9 AlbaniaUkraineKazkhstan Ndime economie: Covers 33% of poorest and 67% of «non-poor» Disqualifies landowners Take into account no. of children in houshold Guaranteed minimum income scheme: Coverage: 85% of expenditure on 20% poorest Other benefits are incl. in assessment of income Take into account no of children in household Targeted social assistance 86% of expenditures on 20% poorest Other benefits are incl. in assessment of income Employment certificate required Take into account no of children in houseold Means tested poverty allieviation schemes

10 AlbaniaUkraineKazakhstan Disability benefitBirth grants 0-3 years monthly child care allowance 0-18 years monthly child care alowance to single mothers Disability benefit Carer allowance for parents to child with disability Birth grants 0-1 year monthly child care allowance Child disability benefit Carer allowance for parents to child with disability Benefits for families with 4 or more children Categorical benefits schemes

11 Countries have various social assistance benefits that children and parents can access The infrastructure to administer them is extensive in all countries. … but, the social benefits system is difficult to access and requiring a great deal of effort for little reward (as experienced by parents interviewed). … and a large proportion of the recipients are the non-poor. Categorical benefits are reaching higher proportions of the poorest families than means-tested schemes (especially the birth grants, 0-3 benefits and disability benefits) ATTENTION! Social assistance benefits are most often targeted towards poverty alleviation and can only indirectly prevent family separation, dysfunctionality and disintegration. Multiple vulnerability often does not qualify for multiple supports… families often have to chose between benefits. Exclusion of certain groups limit impact: i.e. informal carers, landowners Access to social assistance of most vulnerable

12 Gatekeeping and family support services AlbaniaKazakhstanUkraine Statutory servicesCPUs Guardianship (courts) Medical commissions Child Protection Departments Psychological medical commissions Commissions of Minors Centers for social services Family and child support services Councelling Referrals and facilitating access to benefits and services (by CPUs) Crisis shelters Spec. Day care Social work in materity hospitals Rehabilitation services Outreach social work Social work in maternity hospitals Mother and baby units Day care Rehabilitation

13 Social services remain over-relying on residential care, even if there are pilot initiatives for inclusive education, rehabilitation services, therapy and community based services for children with disability and children from vulnerable families. Embryonic case management and weakness of social work and the administrative and managerial infrastructure emerged as a key gap. – There is a lack of understanding about what social work is, how it differs from social assistance and what the functions and roles of a social worker are within the social protection system. – Tools of social workers, such as emergency social assistance, access to housing to respond to family crisis and acute risks of abandonment remain few. – Social workers report facing “demeaning attitude towards their profession, and little appreciation”. Free legal aid exists in most countries, but is seldom used to challenge decisions made by the system on accessibility to social protection and decisions on placement of children in care “People do not want to complain as it costs money. Besides, I think people do not trust and do not believe in positive consequences of complaints” Parent, Ukraine Access to social services of most vulnerable

14 “The mentality here is still very much related to money and not to different types of social services that they could have or would support them. There needs to be more public awareness of social services. This lack of understanding also impacts as a barrier to the approaches and work of the professionals”. Local government worker (after piloting professional social work for 18 months in one locality on the lack of demand for social work support, Albania “I have absolutely no clue where I can refer for support for my disabled child. What other types of benefits I can additionally get” Mother of disabled child, Albania Barriers to access 1: Lack of information about services, benefits

15 “The state institutions close the doors to Roma or Egyptian families, or do not provide the right information. When they finally manage to find the right office, the employer says; well I am sorry but you missed the deadline and you can not apply anymore. So those families do not have access because they lack information and do not know the rules, procedures and deadlines to apply to social benefits.” Frontline worker, Albania “Institutions….that provide services or cash benefits are often aggressive and rude to families with disabled children” – "They come and check often; they even check children’s bed… it is so humiliating” Parent, Kazakhstan Barriers to access 2: Stigma and discrimination against service users

16 Number and types of documents that have to be gathered by applicants, often at some expense: Application involves travel, stay overnight, (i.e. legacy of Soviet registration system - families without registration are not eligible for benefits. Those who have migrated to cities have to return to the place where they are registered.) “They wrote a wrong letter in the name N., made a mistake. They said that I should redo it, so I had to come again, It is really hard, we save money for travel, we arrive and then we stay hungry all day. Just because of one wrong letter they force us to rewrite a document. We do the correction, we come again next day but the specialist is not there. Or, sometimes you give them a document, but they don’t know what to do with it. Because the person who is responsible is not informed enough. We also have to pay for all photocopies of these documents”. Parent, Kazakhstan Barriers to access 3: Complexity to application process

17 “I am very satisfied with the support I received especially at the beginning. When I gave birth to my child they [social workers] helped me significantly. I did not have any money at all. They bought diapers even. Later they helped me to gather all the necessary documents to apply for social benefits. And now they also call me and ask whether any further assistance is needed.” Young mother with child under 1, Ukraine “Social services help families, they help to assess situations in adequate manner, they make families to feel more secure, they help to find solutions”. Grandfather, guardian of his granddaughter, Ukraine “If I did not receive this [service provided by NGO]…I would die or I would place have to place my children into an orphanage”. Formal kinship carer, Albania Impact 1: In spite of weaknesses – impact can be achieved

18 Disintegration of social protection systems leads to limited impact to address other risks than most acute poverty. Lack of supply: Incl. types of services, equitable distribution, cost of services, quality of services and bureaucracy - limit the impact on vulnerable families of existing social protection mechanisms and services. Lack of outreach: Social assistance and social services systems tend to be reactive rather than pro-active. The services and benefits systems do not reach out to actively seek and engage with their target groups. Parents and carers therefore need to work really hard to access them. Lack of mechansims for creating synergies between policies and practical integration of the system (i.e. sharing information systems on beneficiaries, comprehensive assessments on needs and contexts to guide delivery of comprehensive set of interventions, multi sectoral coordination etc.) Impact 2: Impact is not maximized for a number of reasons

19 Multiple factors seem to contribute to greater vulnerability: poor, rural and disability – it requires an integrated response which is not the current practice (services and benefits) Families with children with disabilities have least access to appropriate, relevant and responsive services – being a group of children who are over-represented in care in CEE/CIS this is of course alarming Stumbling blocks to accessibility of services and benefits often multiply if you have a disability and reforms have not changed this. Impact 3 – some people are more likely to miss out… - those who need it most…?

20 UNICEF Social Protection Work an overview Show and Tell on Social Protection Bonn, 2011 CONCLUSION: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

21 Synergies, synergies and integration … of policies and systems for social assistance and social serfices Outreach (both assistance and services) Active recruitment of child protection cases (for benefits) Recognition of multiple factors to vulnerability : Net better than brut when deciding on entitlements Considerable investment at birth and early years Focus on disability Implications for system design to achieve better impact

22 Institutional – mandate for social assistance and child protection rests in many countries with the same ministry, BUT… “old” assistance and services still occupy the space and absorbs most budget Organizational – On the ground, the responsibility for determining eligibility for social assistance often rests with social welfare officers (social administartors etc.) BUT… these officers end up spending most of their time on gatekeeping and administrative duties related to social assistance, rather than case management for child protection. Re-profiling and emergence of social workers, expansion of this profession also through intro. Of modern social work university courses and re-training programmes, in parallel with reforms in social assistance programmes is a great opportunity. Objectives – As seen in CEE/CIS, gaps in social protection places burden on child protection system. In changing focus from poverty alleviation (minimum level of income) to minimum level of well-being there will be greater opportunities for synergetic effect (both to achieve poverty reduction and greater child protection outcomes). Should we also look North for some best practices in design of integrated SP systems? Target groups – Many households with children in need of protection will also be the ones who are vulnerable to poverty – so there might be an automatic synergetic effect. BUT only if poverty is the single cause, more complex cases (majority?) will need a combination of supports. Opportunities for linkages


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