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Community based services for children at risk in Albania dAdA.

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Presentation on theme: "Community based services for children at risk in Albania dAdA."— Presentation transcript:

1 Community based services for children at risk in Albania dAdA

2 EveryChild Albania EveryChild Albania was established in 1998 with the support from EveryChild UK, an international child focused charity based in London We are a non-profit, non-religious organisation aiming at promoting and providing support to the reform of social services for vulnerable families and children in Albania We recognise the strong tradition of family and extended family networks in Albania and works to support the structure to care for children within the context of a changing political, social and economic environment Since 1998 we have worked to support the development of a broad range of social services by demonstrating models of good practice and adapt methodologies based on international standards to meet particular needs of Albanian culture, values and traditions Our overall mission is to ensure the provision of community based social welfare services for children, including a commitment to their development and education in a family setting, ideally in their own immediate or extended family and where this is not possible in an alternative family environment

3 The Profile of Children at Risk An estimated 33% of children in Albania live below the poverty line and 18.5% of the total population survive on less than US$ 2 per day. Poverty is most prevalent among the children of Roma and Egyptian population groups and internal migrants - especially in female headed households with three or more children. Most of these children are not registered at birth, which excludes them from receiving any social service benefits. Some 1200 children are currently registered as neglected by their parents. About 450 are placed in public residential institutions, 580 in residential homes, 168 children are placed with foster families and 54 children are adopted (2006) Only 3% of the children placed in public residential institutions are biological orphans. Of the majority, about 60% derive from extreme poverty, 35% were abandoned by birth and 5% are placed in care as a result of child trafficking and child labour. Most children are abandoned by their parents as a consequence of growing poverty, weak social safety nets and ongoing conflict and instability in the family. This is placing families under stress, often resulting in breakdown, divorce, migration from rural areas to the major cities and immigration

4 The Child Welfare System in Albania The Albanian Government spends 6% of GDP on social protection, 3.5% on education and 2.4% on health. These figures are among the lowest in the region. A system of 18 Government institutions (9 orphanages and 9 specialised day care centres) is offering residential and day care services for children across the country Various specialised services are offered by licensed NGOs to children with social problems. These NGOs are mainly funded by foreign financial aid A network of 47 community based services are delivered by municipal governments across the country with support from the World Bank. 20 of those services are exclusively targeting children It is a well-known fact that institutional care is harmful to children and to society. However social services for families that could help prevent child abandonment are for the most part unavailable, leaving the parent with few alternatives to giving up their child

5 The Community Multidisciplinary Centre for Children and Families in Tirana The Multidisciplinary Centre was set up in Tirana Municipality in Nov 2005 to service vulnerable and hard to reach families and children The services are delivered under the direct responsibility of the Municipality of Tirana with support from the World Bank and in coordination with EveryChild Albania - contracted to deliver the multidisciplinary services The service provision is based on models of preventative social work to support families threatened by breakdown, and the reintegration of institutionalised children with their biological families as well as pioneering foster care services The demonstration of services have had a great impact not only on improving the lives of children, but also on influencing child welfare reform in Albania policy by raising awareness among decision makers of the multidisciplinary centre as a preventive mechanism and a real alternative to residential care What are the alternatives to residential care and how do we help to prevent family breakdown that leads to child abandonment and separation?

6 The service provision The Multi-disciplinary Centre provide qualified tailor-made assistance to children, young people, women and families at risk to improve their social status, individual wellbeing and quality of life Through the services we aim to: improve the psychosocial situation of our clients through provision of psychological and social services improve the health situation of our clients through the provision of medical consultations improve the economic situation of our clients through provision of job counselling, vocational training and mediation between client an possible employers alleviate the resolving process of different legal issues through provision of legal aid improve the welfare of children, biological/social orphans through provision of pilot foster care services integrate children at risk into preschool systems and promote inclusive education for children with minor disabilities through provision of information, training, awareness raising and support services for parents and educators

7 Challenges and Lessons Learned The establishment of the multidisciplinary centres is an important step for the implementation of our social service reform, including decentralisation of service provision from central to municipal Government level Based on lessons learned from EveryChild Albania, persisting challenges are: The necessary collaboration with various structures of Local Government is not always as effective as needed and is often not pared with promised local investment Clients often expect financial aid when they come to the service as this is what they get from many other service providing NGOs An essential aim is related to job counselling, helping the client to find a work – this Is difficult due to the general restricted opportunities at the Albanian job market

8 The EvC Global/Regional Focus Prevent children from being separated from their families by offering support, guidance and family-based solutions. Reintegrate children who have been separated from their families back into their biological or extended care. Where this is not possible we develop family-based solutions like foster and kinship care. Offer social rehabilitation services for children living and working on the street, as well as abused or maltreated children and their families. Offer treatment and rehabilitation for children with disabilities, and much needed respite care for families.

9 Any Questions?

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