Report on implementation and effects of the Strategy for Development of Social and Child Protection

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Report on implementation and effects of the Strategy for Development of Social and Child Protection

Report on implementation and effects of the Strategy for Development of Social and Child Protection was created under the project “Fostering community – SPEED UP”, which Juventas implemented in cooperation with the NGO SOS Phone Podgorica, and the Coalition of NGOs “For social change” with the support of European Commission through the EU Delegation in Montenegro. The aim of the project is fostering role of civil society in the further harmonization of Montenegrin social policies with EU standards, and contributing the process of accession of Montenegro to the European Union. The coalition will deal with the monitoring of social policies in the field of poverty reduction and social exclusion, as well as proposing and advocating public policies in the areas of social protection, employment, health and education.

Social and child protection is an activity that ensures provision and implementation of measures and programmes intended for an individual and a family in unfavourable personal or family circumstances, which shall include prevention, assistance for meeting the basic needs and support. In accordance with this, the aim of social and child protection is the improvement of life quality and strengthening of an individual and the family for independent and productive life.61 In accordance with the negative economic situation worldwide, not only in Montenegro, the position of the individual and family has become much less favourable than before. Poverty is a global social problem facing even the most developed countries, and Montenegro is not an exception to this. Data show that the global economic crisis of recent years, which negatively impacted the economic development of Montenegro, also caused an increase in poverty which is reflected in increased unemployment, increased consumer basket, reduction in financial income etc.

Accordingly, the Government of Montenegro has reformed the system of social and child protection, placing the emphasis on strengthening the social cohesion in the country. It should be noted that social cohesion in a society depends on the degree of economical, political and other freedoms and equality of its members. Where there is no equality, there is no social cohesion: the society is divided into the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak. For this reason, the main objective of the Social and Child Protection Development Strategy 2013-2017 is the strengthening of social cohesion and the establishment of a state where human rights will be guaranteed, where everyone will have equal opportunities while simultaneously taking greater care of the most vulnerable groups, which should lead to an increase in social inclusion and decrease in discrimination.

Regarding the introduction of a quality system in social and child protection, we must conclude that activities within this very significant objective have not been implemented. In this way, we have a situation where there are no regulations on licensing of organisations and professional workers, or an established system of supervision of professional work, which means that the measure of licensing of organisations and individuals was delayed. At the same time, Protocols on Minimum Standards of Service in Social and Child Protection were not adopted, and therefore this activity was not implemented.

In accordance with all of the above, the following is a list of recommendations aimed at achieving better results on the one hand, and improving the position of individuals and families on the other:

  • Develop a system of informing on rights from the social and child protection system;
    • Promote this system through media;
    • Create a counter of visits of this website (system) or another manner of verification which could track the increase in informing by citizens;
  • Keep yearly records on average number of beneficiaries of family financial support on a national level;
  • Keep records on adopted Protocols on Cooperation and Procedure on the local level by the MLSW;
    • Report on the implementation and results of adopted Protocols on Cooperation and Procedure at the local level in Reports on the Implementation of the Action Plan;
  • Report on the implementation and results of adopted Protocols on the Strengthening of Inter-Sector Cooperation;
  • Prescribe minimum standards of service in social and child protection, as well as standardise support services for community life and accommodation services;
  • Prescribe minimum standards for counselling, therapeutic and socio-educational services;
  • It is necessary to gradually introduce the activation of beneficiaries of financial support. Activation programmes could provide a clear separation of financial support beneficiaries engaged in the informal economy and those without income. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that engagements by financial support beneficiaries could be in the field of social protection services. In this regard it is important to consider in detail the existing practice of public works and other activation measures;
  • Introduce a system of licensing for organisations providing social and child protection services, as well as for professional workers;
    • Prescribe detailed requirements for issuing licenses, renewing licenses, temporary suspension and revocation of licenses for organisations and professional workers;
    • Report the number of issued, renewed and revoked licenses in the Working Report of the MLSW;

Consider the possibility of increasing the amount of financial support to beneficiaries of family financial assistance to at least half of the minimum consumer basket value.

The publication can be downloaded here.