Insights: Child rights in Eastern Europe and Central Asia - Issue 1/2012


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Countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) have a tremendously high number of children who grow up in formal care: 1.3 million. Around half of them grow up in large scale residential care institutions which risks harming their health, development and future life chances.

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Insights: Child rights in Eastern Europe and Central Asia - Issue 1/2012

  1. 1. ISSUE 1 / 2012INSIGHTS: CHILD RIGHTS IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIAKeeping families togetherMaking social protection more effective for childrenAbstractCountries in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) have a tremendously high number of children who grow up in formal care: 1.3 million. Aroundhalf of them grow up in large scale residential care institutions which risks harming their health,development and future life chances.Family separation often happens because parents cannot access the support they need to takecare of their children at home. Social protection systems in the region are failing these families.UNICEF urges governments to take immediate action to support these families by improving socialprotection so that it reaches out to and has an impact on those who need it most, including familiesat risk of disintegration. Most importantly, governments and societies must work to dismantle thebarriers that vulnerable families encounter when trying to access vital services and assistance.This can help to prevent children from being arbitrarily separated from their parents.Separation of children from families: understand why high rates of child placementa litmus test for the effectiveness in formal care persist despite this, researchers explored barriers to and impacts of accessingof social protection social protection in each country.One indicator of the effectiveness of a social The research offers important insight into theprotection system is its capacity to support weaknesses of and challenges faced by socialvulnerable families to take care of their children protection systems in the region. These countriesat home. Rates of children living in formal care also provide examples of good practice that pointor separated from their biological families are to ways in which policy-makers might maximisevery high in CEE/CIS. the impacts of social protection systems.This suggests that existing social protectionsystems are failing to give vulnerable families Social protection needs to addressthe support they need to prevent the kinds complex social realities 1of crises that lead to a child being placed inalternative care. Impoverished families face multiple challenges that combine in ways that make them extremelyThis edition of Insights summarises ndings and difcult to overcome. A single mother living in arecommendations of studies on the impact and remote rural village cannot leave her childrenoutreach of social protection systems in Albania, and travel to town to nd work, especially as theKazakhstan and Ukraine. These countries all strain of caring for her child takes its toll on heroperate social assistance programmes and are physical and mental health. As a lone parentin the process of establishing social services. To she may lose the support of friends or relatives. unite for children
  2. 2. Keeping families together If she is from a minority group or if her child has empower users, build their resilience and a disability, she may suffer further stigma and Key Components of Social isolation. Coping with such circumstances drive Protection Systems some to alcoholism or drug addiction, and can lead to destitution and family breakdown. Social assistance: social benets or schemes Addressing the multiple, complex problems of that aim to alleviate poverty by giving cash or vulnerable families demands well-coordinated, in-kind transfers, tax deductions or fee waivers holistic and multi-sector responses; low-level for basic services. cash benets are not enough. As one non- governmental organisation (NGO) worker Social services: family and child support in Kazakhstan commented, families need, services that can facilitate family life and SRehabilitation, psychological and moral also prevent neglect and abuse of children support - and targeted social assistance cannot and family breakdown. Key services cover this.T To overcome hardships in the long- include day-care, counselling, support and term, people need to develop their capacity advice hotlines, rehabilitation, legal aid and to cope with sudden shock or changes in employment of social workers to work with circumstances, such as the loss of earnings vulnerable people to address issues related following an unexpected illness, or the burden to housing, employment, and accessing of looking after a newborn. education and health services. For children at risk, alternative care services such as In this way, social protection can play a vital role foster care may be needed. in preventing vulnerability and strengthening resilience to sudden life events or crises, as Programmes to ensure access to services: well as responding to their aftermath. Social measures that reduce the nancial and social protection can empower the vulnerable and barriers households face when accessing contribute to positive social change. For this social services, for example, subsidies, to happen, the different components of the social protection system (see Box 1) must work health insurance or the abolition of service together to offer a comprehensive package of user fees. support. The social protection package must also have some exibility in order to respond Legislation and policy: reforms that aim to to the specic individual circumstances that address inequalities in accessing services families at risk of disintegration may face. or economic opportunities. Examples might include employment guarantee schemes or Social protection in CEE/CIS has traditionally legislation against discrimination. focused on cash transfers for specic groups of people dened by the state as VdeservingW, Source:Integrated social protection systems: 2 for example, pensioners and military veterans. enhancing equity for children. United Nations2 During the Soviet era, social support for ChildrenWs Fund, New York, 2012. vulnerable and poor children was built around networks of residential care institutions; the removal of children from parents struggling Box 1 to care for them was standard practice. Countries have, therefore, inherited systems that are fragmented, over-reliant on institutional ultimately to help them overcome the difculties responses and fail to provide individualized they face. Non-cash based support services support to vulnerable people. Most crucially, to families, which could help build parental they have not been designed to stimulate and capacities and facilitate family life are now unite for children
  3. 3. "!When asked why their children were placed into care,many parents said it was because they could not find oraccess other forms of support. INSIGHTS " emerging, but are often neither targeted to the most vulnerable nor widely available within a given country. all case study countries have established clear legislative frameworks for developing comprehensive social protection systems (see Box 2). However researchers found that many Identifying the most vulnerable families living in difcult circumstances are not receiving effective support. They reported that: The studies found that low-income families, i) Targeted social assistance programmes particularly those in remote rural areas or intended to alleviate poverty are not caring for a disabled child, are at highest risk reaching the majority of needy households. of family separation. Residential care continues For example, Targeted Social Assistance in to be the main way states attempt to meet the Kazakhstan reaches only 3 per cent of the needs of disabled children. Although they only poorest households; in Albania two-thirds represent 1-5 per cent of the child population, of the poor are not covered by the targeted in some countries they constitute over 50 per cash-transfer programme called Ndihma cent of the residential care population. Young Ekonomike. families with newborn babies and infants often ii) Non-institution based social services are still struggle to cope with the expense of caring for being accessed only by a small number of a baby while losing the earnings of one adult. parents and carers. Family and youth social As a result, large numbers of 0-3 year olds are services are being developed and expanded, taken into institutional care across the region. especially in the Ukraine. However, access Single mothers and families with a parent and delivery are patchy. Qualitative data dependent on drugs or alcohol are agged as collected in all three countries suggest that particularly vulnerable. Other high risk groups many parents do neither access services include ethnic-minority Roma families in Albania nor understand the purpose of them. and migrant families with no xed address in Kazakhstan. Experience on the ground Sometimes the state places a child in institutional care; sometimes parents themselves decide Interviews with parents and carers, frontline to do so. When asked why their children were workers and national decision-makers, build a placed into care, many parents said it was picture of the barriers vulnerable people face because they could not nd or access other accessing both social assistance and services. forms of support. They pointed out several important issues: Why families are not getting 1. Lack of awareness about eligibility for the support they need assistance When a social protection system is functioning Vulnerable families say they do not know what well, parents struggling to care for their children types of social assistance is available for them; 3 are able to: they nd out they are ineligible for existing i) Receive extra cash or other resources schemes because of restrictions built into the through social transfers; design. ii) Access support such as counselling, day- ` In Albania, land-ownership automatically care or advice through social services. disqualies applicants from receiving This combination is intended to help families Ndihma Ekonomike. This leaves many get through tough times without having to needy families that have moved from rural take extreme measures such as placing their areas, where they may own a small plot of children in institutions. The governments of land, to urban settlements, without support. unite for children Regional Ofce for CEECIS
  4. 4. Keeping families together ` Informal carers in Albania d a very large social assistance, spending considerable time group that includes extended family d when and money gathering documents to prove taking care of the child of a relative, often themselves eligible. for extended periods, need to provide for the extra mouths to feed, but cannot access According to a frontline worker in Ukraine, social assistance because they are not SThere are so many who cannot gather all the formally responsible for the child they care necessary documents and do not know where for. to go, whom to ask, or what type of application ` In Kazakhstan, people who have migrated is needed.T for work to another part of the country in which they are not ofcially resident cannot A parent from Kazakhstan added, SApplications register for Targeted Social Assistance. for benets cannot be led in a village; you have ` Income calculations for means-tested to go to the district centre. I had to spend three social transfers sometimes include benets days ling an application, because every time received through other schemes. For some documents were missing, or there were example, a poor family in Kazakhstan that errors in the papers.T receives a one-off grant for a newborn may no longer be eligible for Targeted Social 3. Lack of transparency and fairness to Assistance. access social assistance ` In Ukraine calculations for the Guaranteed Minimum Income allowance sometimes take Parents and carers expressed confusion about into account disability benets, guardianship how and to whom social assistance benets allowances and old age pensions. This were awarded. They are also frustrated means eligible households have to choose at inconsistencies in monthly allowances between benets they may be entitled to. The and geographical variations in the amounts cumulative effect of these different benets received. designed to address specic sources of vulnerability might be lost on those families A parent in Kazakhstan and an NGO worker who need it most. As a local level social in Albania commented respectively, SThey care expert in Ukraine commented, SOur calculate the amounts in a way unknown to me. guardians complain about the system of They write one thing, while I receive another social benets especially if they have a child amount. I cannot understand whyT and, SThere with disability. They really have to choose is a lack of transparency of how the funds are based on what will be the larger amount d used within nancial aid and there is a lack of the benet for the disabled child or social effective monitoring of the system.T assistance for child deprived of parental care. This is not normal. Complex problems Some recipients described discrimination should be addressed in a complex way. by ofcials administering social assistance They (government) dene procedures and programmes. In Kazakhstan parents and carers4 eligibility criteria and then itWs your problem reported particularly aggressive attitudes, if your prole does not match.T especially towards parents seeking social assistance for disabled children. A frontline 2. Applications for means-tested social worker in Albania spoke about discrimination assistance are too complicated against Roma families suggesting that SState institutions close the doors to them, or they do In the opinion of a social pedagogue in not provide the right information.T Kazakhstan, parents must Sgo through all circles of hellT to access entitlements to 4. Social assistance disbursements are unite for children
  5. 5. INSIGHTSKey Social Protection Policies and LegislationAlbania UkraineThe development of social protection policy in In April 2011, the Ministry of Social Policy tookAlbania is taking place within the context of an over as the lead government agency in theon-going process of decentralisation. development and implementation of child andB National Strategy for Integration and family policy. As a result, social policy-making Development 2008-2013: the Social has been in ux. Protection Sector Strategy is central to this. Key areas of focus include: improved Key policies and legislation includes: targeting of cash benets, decentralisation B Law of Ukraine POn social work of social services, clarifying the role of with families, children and youthS: NGOs as service providers and developing amendments in 2009 broadened the scope community-based services. of social work, put families at the centreB Social Inclusion Cross Cutting Strategy of service provision and introduced the 2007-2013: addresses access to services concept of the Vcommunity social workerW. and living conditions of children, people B Concept of Reform of the Social Services with disabilities (including developing System: this 2007 policy is a clear written community-based education and services) strategy of activities to improve the social and minority ethnic groups, most notably services system in Ukraine. It has never the Roma. been fully implemented because of a lack of either action or nancing plans.Kazakhstan B The State Social ServicesS Strategy of Social Service Development for Family,Key policies and legislation includes: Children and Youth in Ukraine 2009-B Ministry of Labour and Social Protection 2014: this aims to Sensure wide access for Strategic Plan 2011-2015: aims to increase families, children and youth to high quality the coverage of benets targeted at children social services at community level.T and families including an allowance to parents bringing up a child with a disability. Introduced care allowance for guardians.B Law on Specialised Services: the 2008 law aims to increase service provision targeted at families and to develop services in the community, including home-care for children with disabilities.B Children of Kazakhstan 2007-2011: 5 State programme that sought to ensure high-quality educational, health and social services and protection of children in hard- life situations. Box 2unite for Regional Ofce for CEECIS
  6. 6. Keeping families together insufcient to lift people out of long-term There is a tradition of centre-based institutional poverty services with less developed networks of smaller scale community-based services in the three While most parents and carers appreciate countries. Reaching these may require travel. receiving assistance, some observed that the Travel and overnight stays are expensive and amounts were so little that, according to a particularly difcult for parents coming from a parent in Albania, SNothing has changed; we rural area or caring for a disabled child. live nowadays, as we lived before, there are still shortages.T In Ukraine respondents felt that, SLack of wheelchair-accessible public transport with the exception of the birth grant, most social is a signicant issue preventing people from assistance was too small to make a difference. accessing services,T said a social protection professional in Kazakhstan. 5. Parents, staff and decision-makers lack knowledge about social services In Albania respondents noted that sometimes husbands do not want their wives to stay Parents who had received community and overnight outside the home to take the child to family-based support from social services service centres. noted mainly positive experiences. However the studies found that the majority of the people 8. Most people do not trust or know how interviewed for this research are not aware of to use complaints procedures for social social services and do not know how to access services and social assistance them. ComplaintsW mechanisms can be a good tool A mother in Ukraine said, SI have absolutely for people to claim their rights. Respondents no clue where I can refer to for support for my in all countries expressed doubts about the disabled child.T A local government worker in effectiveness of complaints procedures. Albania claimed, SThe mentality here is still Comments included: very much related to money. People do not ` SPeople do not want to complain because understand the different types of social services it costs money. Besides, I think people that would support them. More public awareness do not trust and do not believe in positive of social services is needed.T consequences of complaintsT (a mother, Ukraine); 6. Availability of social services is variable, ` SFamilies can appeal if they do not receive delivery inconsistent and capacity of staff the right amount of benet, but I have never poor heard of anyone actually doing itT (a local government worker, Albania); All three countries are developing social ` SThe law is very clear d but often procedures services, but these are not yet available are not as clearT (a national informant, on any large scale with sustained funding. Kazakhstan);6 Respondents reported a lack of specialist social ` In Kazakhstan, SGovernment OnlineT serves work personnel as frontline workers. SYou might as a complaint mechanism but not everyone nd the same person opening the door, doing has access to the internet. In Ukraine, the secretary role, the Social Administrator role, several cases challenging decisions on and a lot of other roles as wellT said an NGO social benets have gone through the courts worker in Albania. system, however it is not known which families use the courts. It is possible it is 7. Centre-based social services usually in not the poorer families who may need the towns and difcult for vulnerable to reach benets the most. unite for children
  7. 7. !Lack of wheelchair-accessible public transport is a significantissue preventing people from accessing services. " INSIGHTS 7 unite for children Regional Ofce for CEECIS© UNICEF/SWZK/2011/FYROM/John McConnico
  8. 8. Keeping families together Policy issues emerging from non-eligible households from receiving social current experience assistance. But this also results in a more complex application process which can become Research about the current situation in Albania, an insurmountable barrier for some families, Kazakhstan and Ukraine has identied the causing the exclusion of a large numbers of following policy issues: eligible families. 1. Weak outreach of the available support The inclusion of other social assistance benets leads to the low take-up by those who need in calculations to determine a poor familyWs it most income is particularly problematic, especially when different social benets are meant to Social workers and administrators do not address different types of vulnerabilities which systematically and proactively contact, visit and might cumulate in the same household. inform vulnerable families of the assistance or services available to them. As a mother in Spotlight on interesting solutions Ukraine said, SIf parents know, they will be referred and they will get the benet. It they B Reviewing design of targeted social donWt know, nobody will inform them.T assistance programmes: in Albania, a major review of the Ndihma Ekonomike This is in contrast to residential schools and programme is in the pipeline. This will look care homes which actively recruit children from at the issue of the exclusion of families poor rural areas. who own land. In Kazakhstan, rules that include the value of other social assistance Respondents in Ukraine describe how workers programmes in the calculations to determine went to remote areas and persuaded parents a familyWs eligibility for Targeted Social to place their children or threatened them with Assistance are being reviewed. removal of their parental rights. B Moving towards categorical benets: Both Kazakhstan and Ukraine have a broad Spotlight on interesting solutions range of categorical benets, including one- off grants for newborns and infants, cash B Community outreach in Albania: Job transfers for single parent families childcare descriptions for social workers based assistance for children below three (Ukraine), in Child Protection Units in Albania now and assistance for families with more than require them to go out into the community four children (Kazakhstan). Together with and identify families at risk. disability benets, these categorical social B Placing social workers: in maternity benets are reaching higher numbers of wards in Ukraine and in health facilities and the poorest families than means-tested community centres in Albania, and creating schemes in all three countries. This high the role of VSocial PedagogueW in schools in coverage is because administrative barriers8 Kazakhstan has helped identify and make to accessing these categorical grants are contact with harder-to-reach families who lower and the amounts distributed are higher. are unlikely to approach services. Ukraine in particular has been phasing out spending on means-tested benets in favour 2. Excessive administrative barriers results of categorical benets to support children in the vulnerable unable to access assistance and carers. Strict eligibility criteria are intended to prevent unite for children
  9. 9. !Social workers in health facilities and social pedagoguesin schools have made contact with harder-to-reach families. " INSIGHTS 9 unite for children Regional Ofce for CEECIS© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1089/Holt
  10. 10. Keeping families together 3. Social protection system components B Joint efforts of medical staff and social need to be integrated and coordinated workers: in Ukraine, and more recently Kazakhstan, social workers have been Lack of integration of support mechanisms placed in maternity wards to work with hampers the effectiveness of the system. pregnant women whose children are at high SInteragency working between sectors is the risk of being placed in institutional care. biggest problem. Everyone is working on their These workers are able to access hard-to- ownn.there is little sharing of information; at local reach woman living in difcult circumstances level sectors donWt come together naturally; the and offer a range of interventions and Child Protection Units try to play a coordinating advice. In Ukraine, the joint efforts of role but this is based on personal relationships medical staff are linked by some research rather than institutional responsibility,T said a respondents to the marked decrease in frontline worker in Albania. infants being placed in institutional care. For a local government expert in Ukraine, SIt is An NGO worker in Ukraine said, SNo Ministry a positive development that we have more considers itself responsible for supporting mother and baby units, more social workers families and children as a whole.T Each working in maternity wards and clinics. As department focuses on their own specic a result we have less abandonment d the concern. Frontline workers pointed out that while number dropped 5 times d from 2,500 cases the Ministries concerned with social protection per year to 800 cases last year.T in Ukraine work to develop community-based social services and prevent children being 4. More guidance needed for local separated from their parents, the Ministry of respondents to plan, nance and implement Education, Science, Youth and Sports has been services calling on local governments to organise the education of children in institutions and actively The need for better planning and clear recruit children from villages to meet education guidelines for implementation was repeatedly targets. raised by respondents in all three case study countries. Respondents felt that the absence of At the local level, social assistance ofces and such guidelines had led to many of the barriers social services often do not communicate, even and inconsistencies experienced on the ground. when operating from the same building. Many complained that strategies are not properly planned and do not have adequate nancing to As a nation decision-maker in Kazakhstan become reality. noted, SThe Ministry of Labour and Social Policy is trying to merge services and the benets SCentral government write the laws but do not system but itWs not really working d at local provide guidelines for local government on how level they are completely separate d the local to implement them,T as a local government benets ofce is standalone.... the service area worker in Albania said. A national level expert10 is new and underdeveloped.T in Kazakhstan commented, SThe new state social services law is not yet fully operational d Spotlight on interesting solutions clarication is needed on the role of social work at management and practice levels d where B Coordinate policy-making: in April 2011, they should sit, what is the role of NGOs and overall coordination for social protection how to involve them.T was brought to UkraineWs Ministry of Social Policy to enable better coordination at the Secondary legislation also needs to be top. developed, especially concerning: eligibility unite for children
  11. 11. !No Ministry considers itself responsiblefor supporting families and children as a whole. " INSIGHTS 11 unite for children Regional Ofce for CEECIS© UNICEF/SWZK/00883/Pirozzi
  12. 12. Keeping families together criteria for social assistance programmes; policies, in order to review and rene policy and roles, mandates and responsibilities within budget decisions, is also not yet a strong and social services; roles and mandates of NGOs recognized function of the system. and their relationship with state structures; funding streams and mechanisms for services; A key informant from an Albanian NGO complaints procedures; standards for services commented, SDecision-makers donWt have and codes of conduct for professionals. serious discussions about developing realistic plans d if they sit down to discuss something ... Spotlight on good practice they donWt go into detail about how we can reach this goalnthis is in general our way of working ` Developing protocols for collaborative and thinking from the past nso they donWt think working: in Albania, Child Protection Units seriously how to formulate a strategy - this have been set up with the contribution leads to weak action planning, collaboration of donors and implemented by NGOs in and strategies which are impossible to deliver.T collaboration with local authorities. To support this collaboration, the Ministry of Labour, 6. More better-trained and better-paid social Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities workers developed, with the support of Terre des Hommes and UNICEF, the comprehensive Poor working conditions mean that even in the Working Protocol for Child Protection Ukraine, where 1,350 graduate annually, social Workers. This document sets out the roles workers are not necessarily taking up relevant and responsibilities of child protection posts. Interviewees suggested that social work workers and detailed case management training does not always prepare students guidelines. It includes the recommendation adequately for the realities of the job. Many that every case is reviewed at regular struggle to work effectively with marginalised intervals of three months or more frequently and stigmatized groups. should a childWs situation deteriorate or improve. Multidisciplinary teams have Tools that social workers need to do their job also been established to protect, assess effectively, such as emergency social assistance and refer children at risk and CPUs are or access to housing to respond to family crisis, expected to act as coordination points for have not yet been well established. Training linking families into social support ofces. social workers and specialised personnel to work Although the study could not assess how with, for example, children with special needs well the protocol was being implemented, it also needs to be established as a priority. provides clear instructions and guidance for workers involved in assessing and working Spotlight on interesting solutions with families. B Training social workers: in Kazakhstan, 5. More work needed to monitor and evaluate increasing the number of social workers is12 the implementation of policies a major priority and KZT 6 million (around USD 39,300) have been allotted to training Having moved from a system of centralized 300 new social workers. Ukraine is leading planning and management of public services, the way developing its social work force, government workers are not always properly with 1,350 social workers graduating every equipped with skills and tools for programmes and year. budgets. Evaluation of the impact, effectiveness, B Involving people from minority groups efciency, relevance and sustainability of public in recruitment and service delivery: one unite for children
  13. 13. !More social workers are in maternity wards and clinics.As a result, there is less child abandonment. " INSIGHTS 13 unite for children Regional Ofce for CEECIS© UNICEF/NYHQ2005-1776/Pirozzi
  14. 14. Keeping families together NGO in Albania has had success using care institutions continue to receive funding and VmediatorsW from within the Roma community actively recruit children from poor, rural families: to help that group access social services institutional care is Vusual practiceW for provision and social assistance. of healthcare and education to children with disabilities or from poor families. Parents tend 7. Financing plans must aim to ensure equal not to challenge the advice of education and provision across regions health professionals and may even consider it a positive step for their child. Arrangements for nancing social protection measures d in particular the ow of funds from One child rights expert policy-maker in Ukraine central to local level d are often inadequate. commented that there was no requirement and little incentive to work proactively with families, In Albania nine residential care institutions are SPersonally I think in most cases it is easier to given funds by central government, but additional work with the child in some type of institution than resources for community-based services need to work with complex problems of families. And to be raised by local governments which already it is not required by the legislation to preserve have constrained budgets, especially in the the family d it is only required to protect the child poorest and remotest areas. Child Protection and an ofcial can always say that taking away Units are all funded by NGOs and international the child was a protective measure. Probably donors, raising questions about sustainability. the state should more strictly require work with families.T A key NGO informant commented, SI canWt say that the state hasnWt done anything d policies Recommendations have been developed! But policy-makers need to get out into the communities and understand The ndings from the research in Albania, real needs more. Now the government has Kazakhstan and Ukraine provide lessons a strategy [for Roma]nbut no nancing is relevant to many of the countries in the attached. The strategy is very thorough but it CEE/CIS region. There are seven general needs an action plan and budget and to have recommendations emerging from this research, short, mid and long terms goals.T with broad application across the region. Researchers in Ukraine found that the system 1. Maximise impacts by integrating social of allocating nancial resources per head for protection efforts people taken into institutional care creates disincentives for local authorities and state Better impact can be achieved at low cost by service providers to invest in alternative social better coordinating and integrating existing protection. social protection interventions. In practice this means: 8. Funding and unchallenged public ` Ensuring that different sectoral policies, other14 perceptions still favour institutional care than dening specic sectoral goals, jointly contribute to ensure larger public policy SA lot of ofcials somewhere deep in their heart goals. Databases containing information still sincerely believe that an institution is better on service users and beneciaries need to for a child and they motivate parents for thisT, be coordinated, and sharing of information noted a national-level government expert in facilitated, with due consideration to the Ukraine. protection of privacy. ` Using the existing infrastructure and reach Large, well-organised networks of residential of social assistance, health and education unite for children
  15. 15. INSIGHTS structures to extend the reach of social schemes by reviewing eligibility criteria services. Grants for the newborn, for and application processes for means-tested example, offer unprecedented opportunities social assistance to communicate with young families about other kinds of services. Similarly, medical Different forms of social assistance exist in the professionals who come into contact region, but outreach is vital to eliminate risks with vulnerable families who are seeking such as family separation. Ensuring better reach medical advice related to pregnancy or and addressing some barriers parents and child birth could facilitate referral to other carers face when accessing social assistance social services if there is an imminent risk of means in practice: disintegration of the family. ` Providing clear, publicly available guidance` Improving information sharing to the public on application procedures, eligibility criteria on available benets and services. Social and benet entitlements. workers in particular need to be equipped ` Ensuring that applicants are assessed VnetW to inform clients of the benets available to of other benets that they are entitled to so them, and social assistance ofcers should that they do not have to choose between know about the kinds of services that might different benets in case where they have benet their recipients. multiple vulnerabilities.` Developing protocols and training that ` Minimising travel for registration and offering enable social workers, administrators of support for acquiring documents. social benets and others who come in ` Raising the value of benets for means regular contact with vulnerable families tested assistance so that they represent a (police, staff in schools, health workers) to higher share of average household income work together. is also likely to increase the coverage and longer-term impacts of these programmes.2. Maximise impacts by developing guidanceon how to implement and enforce existing 4. Extend reach of social protection throughlegislation awareness-raising and pro-active search and support to vulnerable familiesLegislation has been improved but practice inthe eld is lagging. Improvements in delivery of Extending the reach of social protection inprogrammes at the local level can be achieved practice means identifying who are the mostin practice by: vulnerable groups, dening the entry points for` Setting out clear mandates, roles and how to reach out to them and proactively help responsibilities for social workers and to eliminate the barriers they may face to get develop clear guidance on eligibility assistance. For example: requirements and application processes for ` Targeting mothers in hospitals has had social assistance. signicant and rapid impacts in Ukraine.` Clarifying procedures for how to make claims ` Families with children from rural areas, 15 and complaints through legal mechanisms families with children with a disability, families and, as part of this, establishing ways living in extreme poverty, and families where of enforcing legislation that prohibits drug and alcohol problems and mental health discrimination at local level. issues are prevalent, should be proactively` Establishing clear and stable funding targeted. The introduction of a carerWs streams and mechanisms for programmes allowance in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and and services. elsewhere, and proactive day care services such as those introduced in Albania, have3. Extend reach of social assistance had some success in supporting disabled unite for children Regional Ofce for CEECIS
  16. 16. Keeping families together children within the family context. benets of keeping children in ` Particular attention should be parental care and about alternative Credits focused on families with young kinds of social services can help. Insights Issue1/2012 children. Interventions targeting ` A continued and parallel closure of on Social Protection was written by Peroline single parent households and care institutions will also contribute Ainsworth and edited families with large numbers of to shift the demand for support. by Elena Gaia and Anna Nordenmark children should also be prioritized. Severinsson. The Community and home visits, and 7. Ensure evidence-based policy- Design is by Yudi Rusdia. To download media and radio publicity might be making by developing effective this issue, please go to ways of reaching these families. monitoring and evaluation systems Insights2012_on_ Social_Protection 5. Strengthen equity in provision of An effective and efcient social This issue is based social protection protection system is one that is on a study that was carried out in three continuously improved, can identify countries in 2011, Social protection is meant to help its own errors and unintended side- called The capacity of social protection overcome inequities, build resilience effects. Therefore, to ensure the best systems to provide adequate support to and empower people so that they can possible effects of policies in exchange the most vulnerable face risk better and not fall through the for the public resources invested, there children and their families and prevent cracks. is a need for effective monitoring and family separation - evaluation. To put these in place in a thematic study covering Albania, As such, social protection should not practice means: Kazakhstan and perpetuate the inequities in societies ` Increasing the availability of Ukraine. The study was coordinated by Oxford that it is meant to ght. In practice this information on the take up and Policy Management under the supervision means: impacts of social assistance and of Jean Claude ` Ensuring that there is a nationally services among different groups of Legrand, UNICEF. To download this study, agreed minimum package of social beneciaries. please go to protection services and social ` Establishing mechanisms that allow ceecis/2011_Thematic_ assistance for all who need it, the views of users to reach service Study_on_Social_ regardless of where they live in the providers and planners, and that Protection. country and what vulnerabilities enable them to make complaints The rst edition of the Insights series they face. and challenge decisions. This can of analysis was ` Providing a predictable and be part of a comprehensive data published by the UNICEF Regional sustainable funding for such social and monitoring system bringing Ofce for Central and protection from central level funds. together different public services Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of ` Delivering social services and that with deal child and family well- Independent States. social assistance in ways that are being. Insights provide a focused analysis on a empowering, respectful of rights specic aspect of child rights in the region. and help overcome discriminatory attitudes which may exist in Readers are16 societies at large. encouraged to reproduce materials from Insights as long as it is not being 6. Continue drive for non-institutional sold commercially. care solutions As copyright holders UNICEF requests due acknowledgement and we kindly ask online Non-institutional care solutions still users to link to the need to be promoted at all levels. In original URL addresses mentioned above. practice: ` Awareness campaigns about the unite for children