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1. Rationale – why this research? 1.3 million children in alternative care, out of which 50% in large scale residential care – largest separation rate.

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Presentation on theme: "1. Rationale – why this research? 1.3 million children in alternative care, out of which 50% in large scale residential care – largest separation rate."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Rationale – why this research? 1.3 million children in alternative care, out of which 50% in large scale residential care – largest separation rate in the world – the “pull-effect” of the system Increasing separation of children from families in spite of efforts to ” reform ” the system

3 UNICEF Regional office CEE/CIS3 Rationale – why this research? Continued…

4 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 (data collection in spring, analysis and reporting in early fall, advocacy and technical assistance is ongoing) Scope: Albania, Kazakhstan and Ukraine 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. On the research

5 UNICEF Social Protection Work an overview Show and Tell on Social Protection Bonn, 2011 Findings on the potential of social assistance and social services in the field of child protection / social protection to prevent separation of children from families

6 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! They 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 Social assistance

7 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. 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 accessibilty 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 Social services

8 “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 Lack of information about services, benefits and access to justice – a barrier to access

9 “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 Stigma and discrimination against service users a barrier to access

10 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 Complexity to application process – a barrier to access

11 UNICEF Social Protection Work an overview Show and Tell on Social Protection Bonn, 2011 Conclusions

12 “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 Conclusion 1: In spite of weaknesses – impact can be achieved

13 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.) Conclusion 2 – Impact is not maximized for a number of reasons

14 Families with children with disabilities have least access to appropriate, relevant and responsive services. Stumbling blocks to accessibility of services and benefits often multiply if you have a disability and reforms have not changed this. Multiple factors contribute to greater vulnerability: poor, rural and disability Conclusions 3 – some people are more likely to miss out…

15 Synergies, synergies and integration … of policies and systems Outreach 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 Conclusions 4 – for design of systems and reforms


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