Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2009 Albania: Evaluation of CPU Intervention in the Framework of Social Welfare System Reform and Decentralization of Social Services



Executive summary

“With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. Please ensure that you check the quality of this evaluation report, whether it is “Outstanding”, “Good”, “Almost Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” before using it. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 2’ of the report.”

Our mandate

This report takes the form of an evaluation of the Child Protection Units located in local authority

structures in Albania and follows the requirements of the Terms of Reference drawn up by

UNICEF and ADC.

In having approved the "National Strategy for Children” and in creating an accompanying Action

Plan (2005-2010) the Government of Albania has demonstrated that it is taking seriously the

principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child . Monitoring of this

strategy is undertaken by the "Inter Ministerial Committee on the Rights of Children” and a

Technical Children’s Secretariat

The terms of the evaluation allowed us to conduct a comprehensive Desk Review, which was

invaluable to our familiarising ourselves with the present situation of children and families in

Albania

The degree to which the intentions contained in these high-level government declarations are

being taken seriously is manifested at local level by the creation of Child Protection Units –

which now exist in 14 areas of Albania, at city, town and commune level

Our team was asked by UNICEF and ADC to examine and analyse the impact of four functioning

Child Protection Units, bearing in mind that the original rationale for having created them had

been to assist children at risk of being trafficked and recognising that now the Child Protection

Units were tackling a wider remit. We are expected to suggest improvements for making the

work of these decentralised entities more effective in reaching and making a difference to

intended beneficiaries and to consider the extent to which Child Protection Units might be

developed into responding to referrals of other vulnerable and socially-excluded groups

In particular, we focussed on whether or not the Child Protection Units had discharged their basic

mandate to promote children's rights at the local level, to identify and refer vulnerable children in

need of support, to prevent and protect children from all forms of abuse, exploitation, violence,

neglect and trafficking, by coordinating actions between local actors towards efficient

management of the cases identified

The context: Child Protection Units

It is with these structures that this evaluation primarily is concerned and a range of implications

arising from their performance and development. The inception of Child Protection Units is

based on the National Strategy and Action Plan for Children, ratified by Decisions of the Council

of Ministers 368, dated 31.05.2005 and Decision No.487, dated 30.06.2005

Within the National Child Protection Strategy, the establishment of specialised child protection

offices was seen at the local level operating as social services departments under the

administration of Municipalities or Communes

The Action Plan of the National Child Protection Strategy, point 1.2, clearly foresees “The

creation of creation of specialised structures for the protection of children at a local level”, a duty

seen to be covered by the anticipated State Committee of Child Protection as foreseen in the draft

Children’s Code involving responsible ministries, local government units and non-governmental

organisations as well as the development of “a case management system for children who are

violated and maltreated”

Although the initial impetus for the creation of these organisational units was to tackle

trafficking of children, they can be said to have deepened and widened in terms of reach to

children and families and to other socially excluded individuals and groups in communities – now

in 14 areas of Albania

These entities are embedded within the administrative structures of the Municipality – and three

within the Commune structure – and as such can be considered as embryonic examples of the

beginnings of a free and universal social services geared to children and families in particular

The structure of the Child Protection Units is of enormous significance, as it indicates the

importance that the governing authorities in Albania afford to child protection, as these entities,

once funded by external donors, are now funded, at least partially, by Albanian local authorities

This Report will make reference to a possible formula for future funding. The potential for this

model of social work service designed to support families and protect children to be used as

building blocks for permanent child protection structures in Albania – in partnership with civil

society and international organisations – is clear and realisable

Furthermore, the development of the Child Protection Units- as a core component of social

services and economic aid - fits well with a parallel and continuing process of decentralisation in

Albania. In locating these structures dedicated to protect children and support families at local

level, municipalities and Communes are given an opportunity to provide services to their most

vulnerable and marginalised citizens, that are accessible, accountable and sensitive to local needs.

In doing this, local authorities in Albania are following best practice in family support and child

protection services practised internationally

We were required to scrutinise the ability of these embryonic social service structures to identify

vulnerable, often hard-to reach children and families and whether these families were referred on

appropriately to agencies that could help them and to coordinate interventions in order to avoid

duplication and confusion of purpose and roles. We felt we were able to report positively on the

abilities of the Child Protection Units to achieve this

Furthermore, our evaluation was to analyse information concerning the service users of the Child

Protection Units in order to reveal consistencies and disparities concerning the delivery of the

service, the social and ethnic composition of client groups and examine documentation used to

plan and record the respective interventions

We also included in our examination the of running costs of a Child Protection Units, separating

expenses met by local government in Albania from development costs provided by external

partners to the initiative. We also make reference to the likely long-term costs of not having

family support and child protection services in place

A series of Field Visits was conducted in four separate areas of Albania – to Child Protection

Units which were at different stages of development and which were meeting different

constituencies of need. However, we were struck by the integrity of the operational model in all

four Units, which had the interests of families and children uppermost and dealt with intractable

problems head-on and with determination and resilience

We report on the findings of our Field Visits in detail below, including visits to families and

children as well as Focus Groups and we have included in the Report some indication of our

discussions with and observations of, the Child Protection Units

Our mission required us to examine and report upon matters of relevance, efficiency,

effectiveness, impact and sustainability. Consequently, we were bound to examine precisely what

the work of the Child Protection Units actually was, where the referrals came from and what was

done with them. For this reason we devoted some attention to case management

Since accurate assessment is at the core of confident and competent child protection work, we

also looked at the methods of assessment used. We were reassured to learn that every Child

Protection Worker is required to refer to the Child Protection Worker Guidelines which amounts

to step-by-step procedures when working with challenging and risky situations. We also

examined the paperwork used by the Child Protection Units and again, we were reassured to learn

that standardised pro-formas are used, with which to construct individual files on each child

involved in the service. Mandatory training on both of these is regularly organised and indeed

such training took place for all Child Protection Workers, when we were in Albania. We would,

however, prefer that the Child Protection Worker Guidelines are renamed Child Protection

Worker Procedures, since procedures are binding, unlike guidelines

We have included a separate section on the practical difficulties of establishing the best interests

of children, in a country where there is no agreed, standardised formula for establishing

vulnerability and where the existence of an enormous informal and often fairly invisible economy

makes it difficult to decide precisely what the resources of a family actually are

We make recommendations on the need for national mapping exercise to try to establish the

degree to which children are vulnerable and think that this would be an appropriate task for a

developed and supported Regional State Social Services

We also include sections on confidentiality, whilst recognising that cultures differ on the

importance of this question, whilst making the point that the right to keep private matters off

public agendas is advisable in any culture and separately we refer to matters of social work

education and training and to the need for nationally-agreed standards. We were told of the

turnover of staff in local government and of the lack of authority conferred on social workers. If

there is to be a credible system of child protection in Albania, then it will require to be paid for,

with social workers trained at University level and being required successfully to undertake

practical placements, as there is too often an over-emphasis on social workers produced by

academic process, which has been a problem in several countries in the Balkans. These points are

linked to a proper career structure for social work which should be regarded as a profession with

appropriate status and where social workers who are “fit for purpose” are recruited by local

authorities on a transparent and competitive basis of equal opportunities

We make several references during our report to the need for services to support families and

protect children- and we make the point that these are indivisible- and that this is best organised

by a civil society coalition of like-minded actors in partnership between government at local and

central level, national and international NGO’s, churches and community groups – in a “mixed

economy of care”

We are aware of the existence of a private sector concerned with the care of children, but would

simply remark that robust examination and licensing needs to be brought to bear on this particular

sector, if international experience in this regard is anything to go by. We understand that the

business community in Albania is reluctant to donate to social causes because tax relief for doing

so is not available but we have referred to the need for Child Protection Units to become involved

in fund–raising activities

We have also referred to such media, publicity and awareness-raising as we came across during

our field visits and do realise that without promotion and proactive steps being taken, take-up of

family support and child protection services may be less than hoped for or may become unduly

stigmatised. Radio and television stations should be prevailed upon to offer publicity about the

services offered by Child Protection Units. In some countries, “champions” have been found to be

identified with good causes and perhaps an Albanian celebrity might be found to champion the

cause of Child Protection Units!

Such was the importance of Albania’s National Anti-Trafficking Strategy in the genesis of the

Child Protection Units, that we have inserted a section on this Strategy, which clearly considers

the further development and consolidation of Child Protection Units as being of vital importance

and as the Strategy asserts : - “The present Strategy against Trafficking identifies goals and

objectives that will contribute to the functioning of the overall child protection system in Albania,

in particular through increasing support to these of Child Protection Units already being piloted in

Albania.” The National Anti-Trafficking Strategy also urges the eventual creation of

Municipality/Commune level child protection systems, or ‘child protection safety nets’,

comprising the child protection workers in Child Protection Units in the entire country by 2010.

The Evaluation Team makes mention of the perils and pitfalls of governments making use of the

Non-Governmental sector to provide the bulk of direct services, instead of having them test-bed

and pilot new ways of working by means of demonstration projects

We are also mindful of the need for our study to contain a policy and strategic perspective,

alongside considering practitioner issues and for this reason, we have included remarks on the

policy environment and Albania and links with the European Union

No issue that we came across during our visits and discussions exercised us as much as those

concerned with the shortcomings in Albanian legislation to provide measures on an urgent basis

to protect children and if necessary remove them from dangerous places, with or without the

consent of parents. An equally important and linked concern was the lack of resources for placing

children in a safe place and the fact that if children had to be placed away from home, an

institution seemed to be the only choice. We were most concerned to learn of babies abandoned

in maternity hospitals languishing sometimes for years, in institutions

We are aware of the provisions of the Family Code in Albania in this regard and are struck by the

lack of family-based solutions for children, despite the fact that varieties of foster care have been

piloted in Albania for over ten years. We are also concerned at the possible collision of interests

in trying to reconcile professional foster care with traditional kinship care in Albania – hence we

have devoted as section to these matters

We conclude by feeling confident and indeed enthusiastic, about Child Protection Units in

Albania, which we feel have shown that they have been able to “punch above their weight” in

terms of impact

Our report places great emphasis on what we saw and learned during our field visits and makes

constructive suggestions for improvement. We feel optimistic about the potential for deepening

and widening the ability of the Child Protection Units to provide a service to a wider constituency

of service users, provided a number of conditions are met

Our Terms of Reference required the Evaluation to consider the following criteria and indicators

under the general heading of scope and objectives, which led us to certain conclusions:-

i) Relevance

In the view of the Evaluation Team, the design of the Child Protection Units are well-suited to

the beneficiaries they are designed to serve

It is difficult to envisage another model that would be more relevant, given the present

movement towards decentralisation of services in Albania

ii) Efficiency

Our conclusions concerning efficiency is that, bearing in mind that the Child Protection Units

amount to embryonic social services in Albania, that their inputs are significant, represent value

for money and make best use of scarce resources. Also, it must be borne in mind that these

entities are created as paradigms to be tested to see if they work – and if so – can they be applied

and replicated in every municipality and commune in Albania? It is never the purpose of pilot or

demonstration projects run by civil society organisations to offer direct services to meet all

possible needs that local communities require. The purpose is to establish a working model to see

if the model works in practice and not to provide unlimited direct services and so run the risk of

becoming overwhelmed.

Our indicators took account of stakeholder responses the team received when visiting families,

making use of the service and feedback from Focus Groups and the view of line Ministries and

Non Governmental Organisations in the field of child protection

iii) Effectiveness

We have no doubt that results have been measurable, that the capacity of key players have been

built and moreover, that such results can be considered sustainable

We were informed of the capacity and willingness of social administrators to exercise a wider

remit than a strict definition of their job descriptions would permit and work closely with Child

Protection Workers in joint visits, for example

We learned that there is a serious problem with the concept of cash assistance – as there is not an

adequate definition of poverty – but there is no doubt that the experience of the Child Protection

Units could contribute to the present review of Ndihme Ekonomike that is underway

The present system of social services evidently are not effective in encouraging and enabling

beneficiaries to change their status, but we saw examples of close working cooperation between

Child Protection Workers and social administrators. During interviews with key players and

during the course of Focus Groups we saw and heard of examples of excellent inter-sectoral

cooperation

iv) Impacts

We were left in no doubt that the intervention of the Child Protection Unit had brought about

measurable changes to the welfare of families as evidenced by the majority of beneficiaries we

met. Analysis of the questionnaires completed by children and families confirms this

The potential for Child Protection Units to make further impact on cross-cutting issues we think

is considerable, given the central positioning of the Child Protection Worker as the conduit of all

referrals and as coordinator of meetings concerning children and families and other “client

groups”, since referrals are not rejected as not falling within the remit of the Child Protection Unit

v) Sustainability

We think that changes and outcomes brought about by the Child Protection Units can be

sustained at the sector level and in each implementation region, if the impetus of the Child

Protection service and the initiatives are supported by central and local government, as well as by

the “third sector” of Non-Governmental Organisations

There is no doubt that the service could readily be extended to addressing the needs of other

social excluded categories on several conditions being set- staffing, training, support, goodwill

and supervision

If the development of the Child Protection Units is seen to be of national importance, not only

from the point of view of providing services that actually work in protecting children and

supporting families, but making a significant contribution in providing one of the building blocks

of good governance, social inclusion, provision of a basic safety net and the process of

decentralisation, there is every likelihood that sustainability will be ensured

Our mandate

This report takes the form of an evaluation of the Child Protection Units located in local authority

structures in Albania and follows the requirements of the Terms of Reference drawn up by

UNICEF and ADC.

In having approved the "National Strategy for Children” and in creating an accompanying Action

Plan (2005-2010) the Government of Albania has demonstrated that it is taking seriously the

principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child . Monitoring of this

strategy is undertaken by the "Inter Ministerial Committee on the Rights of Children” and a

Technical Children’s Secretariat

The terms of the evaluation allowed us to conduct a comprehensive Desk Review, which was

invaluable to our familiarising ourselves with the present situation of children and families in

Albania

The degree to which the intentions contained in these high-level government declarations are

being taken seriously is manifested at local level by the creation of Child Protection Units –

which now exist in 14 areas of Albania, at city, town and commune level

Our team was asked by UNICEF and ADC to examine and analyse the impact of four functioning

Child Protection Units, bearing in mind that the original rationale for having created them had

been to assist children at risk of being trafficked and recognising that now the Child Protection

Units were tackling a wider remit. We are expected to suggest improvements for making the

work of these decentralised entities more effective in reaching and making a difference to

intended beneficiaries and to consider the extent to which Child Protection Units might be

developed into responding to referrals of other vulnerable and socially-excluded groups

In particular, we focussed on whether or not the Child Protection Units had discharged their basic

mandate to promote children's rights at the local level, to identify and refer vulnerable children in

need of support, to prevent and protect children from all forms of abuse, exploitation, violence,

neglect and trafficking, by coordinating actions between local actors towards efficient

management of the cases identified

The context: Child Protection Units

It is with these structures that this evaluation primarily is concerned and a range of implications

arising from their performance and development. The inception of Child Protection Units is

based on the National Strategy and Action Plan for Children, ratified by Decisions of the Council

of Ministers 368, dated 31.05.2005 and Decision No.487, dated 30.06.2005

Within the National Child Protection Strategy, the establishment of specialised child protection

offices was seen at the local level operating as social services departments under the

administration of Municipalities or Communes

The Action Plan of the National Child Protection Strategy, point 1.2, clearly foresees “The

creation of creation of specialised structures for the protection of children at a local level”, a duty

seen to be covered by the anticipated State Committee of Child Protection as foreseen in the draft

Children’s Code involving responsible ministries, local government units and non-governmental

organisations as well as the development of “a case management system for children who are

violated and maltreated”

Although the initial impetus for the creation of these organisational units was to tackle

trafficking of children, they can be said to have deepened and widened in terms of reach to

children and families and to other socially excluded individuals and groups in communities – now

in 14 areas of Albania

These entities are embedded within the administrative structures of the Municipality – and three

within the Commune structure – and as such can be considered as embryonic examples of the

beginnings of a free and universal social services geared to children and families in particular

The structure of the Child Protection Units is of enormous significance, as it indicates the

importance that the governing authorities in Albania afford to child protection, as these entities,

once funded by external donors, are now funded, at least partially, by Albanian local authorities

This Report will make reference to a possible formula for future funding. The potential for this

model of social work service designed to support families and protect children to be used as

building blocks for permanent child protection structures in Albania – in partnership with civil

society and international organisations – is clear and realisable

Furthermore, the development of the Child Protection Units- as a core component of social

services and economic aid - fits well with a parallel and continuing process of decentralisation in

Albania. In locating these structures dedicated to protect children and support families at local

level, municipalities and Communes are given an opportunity to provide services to their most

vulnerable and marginalised citizens, that are accessible, accountable and sensitive to local needs.

In doing this, local authorities in Albania are following best practice in family support and child

protection services practised internationally

We were required to scrutinise the ability of these embryonic social service structures to identify

vulnerable, often hard-to reach children and families and whether these families were referred on

appropriately to agencies that could help them and to coordinate interventions in order to avoid

duplication and confusion of purpose and roles. We felt we were able to report positively on the

abilities of the Child Protection Units to achieve this

Furthermore, our evaluation was to analyse information concerning the service users of the Child

Protection Units in order to reveal consistencies and disparities concerning the delivery of the

service, the social and ethnic composition of client groups and examine documentation used to

plan and record the respective interventions

We also included in our examination the of running costs of a Child Protection Units, separating

expenses met by local government in Albania from development costs provided by external

partners to the initiative. We also make reference to the likely long-term costs of not having

family support and child protection services in place

A series of Field Visits was conducted in four separate areas of Albania – to Child Protection

Units which were at different stages of development and which were meeting different

constituencies of need. However, we were struck by the integrity of the operational model in all

four Units, which had the interests of families and children uppermost and dealt with intractable

problems head-on and with determination and resilience

We report on the findings of our Field Visits in detail below, including visits to families and

children as well as Focus Groups and we have included in the Report some indication of our

discussions with and observations of, the Child Protection Units

Our mission required us to examine and report upon matters of relevance, efficiency,

effectiveness, impact and sustainability. Consequently, we were bound to examine precisely what

the work of the Child Protection Units actually was, where the referrals came from and what was

done with them. For this reason we devoted some attention to case management

Since accurate assessment is at the core of confident and competent child protection work, we

also looked at the methods of assessment used. We were reassured to learn that every Child

Protection Worker is required to refer to the Child Protection Worker Guidelines which amounts

to step-by-step procedures when working with challenging and risky situations. We also

examined the paperwork used by the Child Protection Units and again, we were reassured to learn

that standardised pro-formas are used, with which to construct individual files on each child

involved in the service. Mandatory training on both of these is regularly organised and indeed

such training took place for all Child Protection Workers, when we were in Albania. We would,

however, prefer that the Child Protection Worker Guidelines are renamed Child Protection

Worker Procedures, since procedures are binding, unlike guidelines

We have included a separate section on the practical difficulties of establishing the best interests

of children, in a country where there is no agreed, standardised formula for establishing

vulnerability and where the existence of an enormous informal and often fairly invisible economy

makes it difficult to decide precisely what the resources of a family actually are

We make recommendations on the need for national mapping exercise to try to establish the

degree to which children are vulnerable and think that this would be an appropriate task for a

developed and supported Regional State Social Services

We also include sections on confidentiality, whilst recognising that cultures differ on the

importance of this question, whilst making the point that the right to keep private matters off

public agendas is advisable in any culture and separately we refer to matters of social work

education and training and to the need for nationally-agreed standards. We were told of the

turnover of staff in local government and of the lack of authority conferred on social workers. If

there is to be a credible system of child protection in Albania, then it will require to be paid for,

with social workers trained at University level and being required successfully to undertake

practical placements, as there is too often an over-emphasis on social workers produced by

academic process, which has been a problem in several countries in the Balkans. These points are

linked to a proper career structure for social work which should be regarded as a profession with

appropriate status and where social workers who are “fit for purpose” are recruited by local

authorities on a transparent and competitive basis of equal opportunities

We make several references during our report to the need for services to support families and

protect children- and we make the point that these are indivisible- and that this is best organised

by a civil society coalition of like-minded actors in partnership between government at local and

central level, national and international NGO’s, churches and community groups – in a “mixed

economy of care”

We are aware of the existence of a private sector concerned with the care of children, but would

simply remark that robust examination and licensing needs to be brought to bear on this particular

sector, if international experience in this regard is anything to go by. We understand that the

business community in Albania is reluctant to donate to social causes because tax relief for doing

so is not available but we have referred to the need for Child Protection Units to become involved

in fund–raising activities

We have also referred to such media, publicity and awareness-raising as we came across during

our field visits and do realise that without promotion and proactive steps being taken, take-up of

family support and child protection services may be less than hoped for or may become unduly

stigmatised. Radio and television stations should be prevailed upon to offer publicity about the

services offered by Child Protection Units. In some countries, “champions” have been found to be

identified with good causes and perhaps an Albanian celebrity might be found to champion the

cause of Child Protection Units!

Such was the importance of Albania’s National Anti-Trafficking Strategy in the genesis of the

Child Protection Units, that we have inserted a section on this Strategy, which clearly considers

the further development and consolidation of Child Protection Units as being of vital importance

and as the Strategy asserts : - “The present Strategy against Trafficking identifies goals and

objectives that will contribute to the functioning of the overall child protection system in Albania,

in particular through increasing support to these of Child Protection Units already being piloted in

Albania.” The National Anti-Trafficking Strategy also urges the eventual creation of

Municipality/Commune level child protection systems, or ‘child protection safety nets’,

comprising the child protection workers in Child Protection Units in the entire country by 2010.

The Evaluation Team makes mention of the perils and pitfalls of governments making use of the

Non-Governmental sector to provide the bulk of direct services, instead of having them test-bed

and pilot new ways of working by means of demonstration projects

We are also mindful of the need for our study to contain a policy and strategic perspective,

alongside considering practitioner issues and for this reason, we have included remarks on the

policy environment and Albania and links with the European Union

No issue that we came across during our visits and discussions exercised us as much as those

concerned with the shortcomings in Albanian legislation to provide measures on an urgent basis

to protect children and if necessary remove them from dangerous places, with or without the

consent of parents. An equally important and linked concern was the lack of resources for placing

children in a safe place and the fact that if children had to be placed away from home, an

institution seemed to be the only choice. We were most concerned to learn of babies abandoned

in maternity hospitals languishing sometimes for years, in institutions

We are aware of the provisions of the Family Code in Albania in this regard and are struck by the

lack of family-based solutions for children, despite the fact that varieties of foster care have been

piloted in Albania for over ten years. We are also concerned at the possible collision of interests

in trying to reconcile professional foster care with traditional kinship care in Albania – hence we

have devoted as section to these matters

We conclude by feeling confident and indeed enthusiastic, about Child Protection Units in

Albania, which we feel have shown that they have been able to “punch above their weight” in

terms of impact

Our report places great emphasis on what we saw and learned during our field visits and makes

constructive suggestions for improvement. We feel optimistic about the potential for deepening

and widening the ability of the Child Protection Units to provide a service to a wider constituency

of service users, provided a number of conditions are met

Our Terms of Reference required the Evaluation to consider the following criteria and indicators

under the general heading of scope and objectives, which led us to certain conclusions:-

i) Relevance

In the view of the Evaluation Team, the design of the Child Protection Units are well-suited to

the beneficiaries they are designed to serve

It is difficult to envisage another model that would be more relevant, given the present

movement towards decentralisation of services in Albania

ii) Efficiency

Our conclusions concerning efficiency is that, bearing in mind that the Child Protection Units

amount to embryonic social services in Albania, that their inputs are significant, represent value

for money and make best use of scarce resources. Also, it must be borne in mind that these

entities are created as paradigms to be tested to see if they work – and if so – can they be applied

and replicated in every municipality and commune in Albania? It is never the purpose of pilot or

demonstration projects run by civil society organisations to offer direct services to meet all

possible needs that local communities require. The purpose is to establish a working model to see

if the model works in practice and not to provide unlimited direct services and so run the risk of

becoming overwhelmed.

Our indicators took account of stakeholder responses the team received when visiting families,

making use of the service and feedback from Focus Groups and the view of line Ministries and

Non Governmental Organisations in the field of child protection

iii) Effectiveness

We have no doubt that results have been measurable, that the capacity of key players have been

built and moreover, that such results can be considered sustainable

We were informed of the capacity and willingness of social administrators to exercise a wider

remit than a strict definition of their job descriptions would permit and work closely with Child

Protection Workers in joint visits, for example

We learned that there is a serious problem with the concept of cash assistance – as there is not an

adequate definition of poverty – but there is no doubt that the experience of the Child Protection

Units could contribute to the present review of Ndihme Ekonomike that is underway

The present system of social services evidently are not effective in encouraging and enabling

beneficiaries to change their status, but we saw examples of close working cooperation between

Child Protection Workers and social administrators. During interviews with key players and

during the course of Focus Groups we saw and heard of examples of excellent inter-sectoral

cooperation

iv) Impacts

We were left in no doubt that the intervention of the Child Protection Unit had brought about

measurable changes to the welfare of families as evidenced by the majority of beneficiaries we

met. Analysis of the questionnaires completed by children and families confirms this

The potential for Child Protection Units to make further impact on cross-cutting issues we think

is considerable, given the central positioning of the Child Protection Worker as the conduit of all

referrals and as coordinator of meetings concerning children and families and other “client

groups”, since referrals are not rejected as not falling within the remit of the Child Protection Unit

v) Sustainability

We think that changes and outcomes brought about by the Child Protection Units can be

sustained at the sector level and in each implementation region, if the impetus of the Child

Protection service and the initiatives are supported by central and local government, as well as by

the “third sector” of Non-Governmental Organisations

There is no doubt that the service could readily be extended to addressing the needs of other

social excluded categories on several conditions being set- staffing, training, support, goodwill

and supervision

If the development of the Child Protection Units is seen to be of national importance, not only

from the point of view of providing services that actually work in protecting children and

supporting families, but making a significant contribution in providing one of the building blocks

of good governance, social inclusion, provision of a basic safety net and the process of

decentralisation, there is every likelihood that sustainability will be ensured

Our mandate

This report takes the form of an evaluation of the Child Protection Units located in local authority

structures in Albania and follows the requirements of the Terms of Reference drawn up by

UNICEF and ADC.

In having approved the "National Strategy for Children” and in creating an accompanying Action

Plan (2005-2010) the Government of Albania has demonstrated that it is taking seriously the

principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child . Monitoring of this

strategy is undertaken by the "Inter Ministerial Committee on the Rights of Children” and a

Technical Children’s Secretariat

The terms of the evaluation allowed us to conduct a comprehensive Desk Review, which was

invaluable to our familiarising ourselves with the present situation of children and families in

Albania

The degree to which the intentions contained in these high-level government declarations are

being taken seriously is manifested at local level by the creation of Child Protection Units –

which now exist in 14 areas of Albania, at city, town and commune level

Our team was asked by UNICEF and ADC to examine and analyse the impact of four functioning

Child Protection Units, bearing in mind that the original rationale for having created them had

been to assist children at risk of being trafficked and recognising that now the Child Protection

Units were tackling a wider remit. We are expected to suggest improvements for making the

work of these decentralised entities more effective in reaching and making a difference to

intended beneficiaries and to consider the extent to which Child Protection Units might be

developed into responding to referrals of other vulnerable and socially-excluded groups

In particular, we focussed on whether or not the Child Protection Units had discharged their basic

mandate to promote children's rights at the local level, to identify and refer vulnerable children in

need of support, to prevent and protect children from all forms of abuse, exploitation, violence,

neglect and trafficking, by coordinating actions between local actors towards efficient

management of the cases identified

The context: Child Protection Units

It is with these structures that this evaluation primarily is concerned and a range of implications

arising from their performance and development. The inception of Child Protection Units is

based on the National Strategy and Action Plan for Children, ratified by Decisions of the Council

of Ministers 368, dated 31.05.2005 and Decision No.487, dated 30.06.2005

Within the National Child Protection Strategy, the establishment of specialised child protection

offices was seen at the local level operating as social services departments under the

administration of Municipalities or Communes

The Action Plan of the National Child Protection Strategy, point 1.2, clearly foresees “The

creation of creation of specialised structures for the protection of children at a local level”, a duty

seen to be covered by the anticipated State Committee of Child Protection as foreseen in the draft

Children’s Code involving responsible ministries, local government units and non-governmental

organisations as well as the development of “a case management system for children who are

violated and maltreated”

Although the initial impetus for the creation of these organisational units was to tackle

trafficking of children, they can be said to have deepened and widened in terms of reach to

children and families and to other socially excluded individuals and groups in communities – now

in 14 areas of Albania

These entities are embedded within the administrative structures of the Municipality – and three

within the Commune structure – and as such can be considered as embryonic examples of the

beginnings of a free and universal social services geared to children and families in particular

The structure of the Child Protection Units is of enormous significance, as it indicates the

importance that the governing authorities in Albania afford to child protection, as these entities,

once funded by external donors, are now funded, at least partially, by Albanian local authorities

This Report will make reference to a possible formula for future funding. The potential for this

model of social work service designed to support families and protect children to be used as

building blocks for permanent child protection structures in Albania – in partnership with civil

society and international organisations – is clear and realisable

Furthermore, the development of the Child Protection Units- as a core component of social

services and economic aid - fits well with a parallel and continuing process of decentralisation in

Albania. In locating these structures dedicated to protect children and support families at local

level, municipalities and Communes are given an opportunity to provide services to their most

vulnerable and marginalised citizens, that are accessible, accountable and sensitive to local needs.

In doing this, local authorities in Albania are following best practice in family support and child

protection services practised internationally

We were required to scrutinise the ability of these embryonic social service structures to identify

vulnerable, often hard-to reach children and families and whether these families were referred on

appropriately to agencies that could help them and to coordinate interventions in order to avoid

duplication and confusion of purpose and roles. We felt we were able to report positively on the

abilities of the Child Protection Units to achieve this

Furthermore, our evaluation was to analyse information concerning the service users of the Child

Protection Units in order to reveal consistencies and disparities concerning the delivery of the

service, the social and ethnic composition of client groups and examine documentation used to

plan and record the respective interventions

We also included in our examination the of running costs of a Child Protection Units, separating

expenses met by local government in Albania from development costs provided by external

partners to the initiative. We also make reference to the likely long-term costs of not having

family support and child protection services in place

A series of Field Visits was conducted in four separate areas of Albania – to Child Protection

Units which were at different stages of development and which were meeting different

constituencies of need. However, we were struck by the integrity of the operational model in all

four Units, which had the interests of families and children uppermost and dealt with intractable

problems head-on and with determination and resilience

We report on the findings of our Field Visits in detail below, including visits to families and

children as well as Focus Groups and we have included in the Report some indication of our

discussions with and observations of, the Child Protection Units

Our mission required us to examine and report upon matters of relevance, efficiency,

effectiveness, impact and sustainability. Consequently, we were bound to examine precisely what

the work of the Child Protection Units actually was, where the referrals came from and what was

done with them. For this reason we devoted some attention to case management

Since accurate assessment is at the core of confident and competent child protection work, we

also looked at the methods of assessment used. We were reassured to learn that every Child

Protection Worker is required to refer to the Child Protection Worker Guidelines which amounts

to step-by-step procedures when working with challenging and risky situations. We also

examined the paperwork used by the Child Protection Units and again, we were reassured to learn

that standardised pro-formas are used, with which to construct individual files on each child

involved in the service. Mandatory training on both of these is regularly organised and indeed

such training took place for all Child Protection Workers, when we were in Albania. We would,

however, prefer that the Child Protection Worker Guidelines are renamed Child Protection

Worker Procedures, since procedures are binding, unlike guidelines

We have included a separate section on the practical difficulties of establishing the best interests

of children, in a country where there is no agreed, standardised formula for establishing

vulnerability and where the existence of an enormous informal and often fairly invisible economy

makes it difficult to decide precisely what the resources of a family actually are

We make recommendations on the need for national mapping exercise to try to establish the

degree to which children are vulnerable and think that this would be an appropriate task for a

developed and supported Regional State Social Services

We also include sections on confidentiality, whilst recognising that cultures differ on the

importance of this question, whilst making the point that the right to keep private matters off

public agendas is advisable in any culture and separately we refer to matters of social work

education and training and to the need for nationally-agreed standards. We were told of the

turnover of staff in local government and of the lack of authority conferred on social workers. If

there is to be a credible system of child protection in Albania, then it will require to be paid for,

with social workers trained at University level and being required successfully to undertake

practical placements, as there is too often an over-emphasis on social workers produced by

academic process, which has been a problem in several countries in the Balkans. These points are

linked to a proper career structure for social work which should be regarded as a profession with

appropriate status and where social workers who are “fit for purpose” are recruited by local

authorities on a transparent and competitive basis of equal opportunities

We make several references during our report to the need for services to support families and

protect children- and we make the point that these are indivisible- and that this is best organised

by a civil society coalition of like-minded actors in partnership between government at local and

central level, national and international NGO’s, churches and community groups – in a “mixed

economy of care”

We are aware of the existence of a private sector concerned with the care of children, but would

simply remark that robust examination and licensing needs to be brought to bear on this particular

sector, if international experience in this regard is anything to go by. We understand that the

business community in Albania is reluctant to donate to social causes because tax relief for doing

so is not available but we have referred to the need for Child Protection Units to become involved

in fund–raising activities

We have also referred to such media, publicity and awareness-raising as we came across during

our field visits and do realise that without promotion and proactive steps being taken, take-up of

family support and child protection services may be less than hoped for or may become unduly

stigmatised. Radio and television stations should be prevailed upon to offer publicity about the

services offered by Child Protection Units. In some countries, “champions” have been found to be

identified with good causes and perhaps an Albanian celebrity might be found to champion the

cause of Child Protection Units!

Such was the importance of Albania’s National Anti-Trafficking Strategy in the genesis of the

Child Protection Units, that we have inserted a section on this Strategy, which clearly considers

the further development and consolidation of Child Protection Units as being of vital importance

and as the Strategy asserts : - “The present Strategy against Trafficking identifies goals and

objectives that will contribute to the functioning of the overall child protection system in Albania,

in particular through increasing support to these of Child Protection Units already being piloted in

Albania.” The National Anti-Trafficking Strategy also urges the eventual creation of

Municipality/Commune level child protection systems, or ‘child protection safety nets’,

comprising the child protection workers in Child Protection Units in the entire country by 2010.

The Evaluation Team makes mention of the perils and pitfalls of governments making use of the

Non-Governmental sector to provide the bulk of direct services, instead of having them test-bed

and pilot new ways of working by means of demonstration projects

We are also mindful of the need for our study to contain a policy and strategic perspective,

alongside considering practitioner issues and for this reason, we have included remarks on the

policy environment and Albania and links with the European Union

No issue that we came across during our visits and discussions exercised us as much as those

concerned with the shortcomings in Albanian legislation to provide measures on an urgent basis

to protect children and if necessary remove them from dangerous places, with or without the

consent of parents. An equally important and linked concern was the lack of resources for placing

children in a safe place and the fact that if children had to be placed away from home, an

institution seemed to be the only choice. We were most concerned to learn of babies abandoned

in maternity hospitals languishing sometimes for years, in institutions

We are aware of the provisions of the Family Code in Albania in this regard and are struck by the

lack of family-based solutions for children, despite the fact that varieties of foster care have been

piloted in Albania for over ten years. We are also concerned at the possible collision of interests

in trying to reconcile professional foster care with traditional kinship care in Albania – hence we

have devoted as section to these matters

We conclude by feeling confident and indeed enthusiastic, about Child Protection Units in

Albania, which we feel have shown that they have been able to “punch above their weight” in

terms of impact

Our report places great emphasis on what we saw and learned during our field visits and makes

constructive suggestions for improvement. We feel optimistic about the potential for deepening

and widening the ability of the Child Protection Units to provide a service to a wider constituency

of service users, provided a number of conditions are met

Our Terms of Reference required the Evaluation to consider the following criteria and indicators

under the general heading of scope and objectives, which led us to certain conclusions:-

i) Relevance

In the view of the Evaluation Team, the design of the Child Protection Units are well-suited to

the beneficiaries they are designed to serve

It is difficult to envisage another model that would be more relevant, given the present

movement towards decentralisation of services in Albania

ii) Efficiency

Our conclusions concerning efficiency is that, bearing in mind that the Child Protection Units

amount to embryonic social services in Albania, that their inputs are significant, represent value

for money and make best use of scarce resources. Also, it must be borne in mind that these

entities are created as paradigms to be tested to see if they work – and if so – can they be applied

and replicated in every municipality and commune in Albania? It is never the purpose of pilot or

demonstration projects run by civil society organisations to offer direct services to meet all

possible needs that local communities require. The purpose is to establish a working model to see

if the model works in practice and not to provide unlimited direct services and so run the risk of

becoming overwhelmed.

Our indicators took account of stakeholder responses the team received when visiting families,

making use of the service and feedback from Focus Groups and the view of line Ministries and

Non Governmental Organisations in the field of child protection

iii) Effectiveness

We have no doubt that results have been measurable, that the capacity of key players have been

built and moreover, that such results can be considered sustainable

We were informed of the capacity and willingness of social administrators to exercise a wider

remit than a strict definition of their job descriptions would permit and work closely with Child

Protection Workers in joint visits, for example

We learned that there is a serious problem with the concept of cash assistance – as there is not an

adequate definition of poverty – but there is no doubt that the experience of the Child Protection

Units could contribute to the present review of Ndihme Ekonomike that is underway

The present system of social services evidently are not effective in encouraging and enabling

beneficiaries to change their status, but we saw examples of close working cooperation between

Child Protection Workers and social administrators. During interviews with key players and

during the course of Focus Groups we saw and heard of examples of excellent inter-sectoral

cooperation

iv) Impacts

We were left in no doubt that the intervention of the Child Protection Unit had brought about

measurable changes to the welfare of families as evidenced by the majority of beneficiaries we

met. Analysis of the questionnaires completed by children and families confirms this

The potential for Child Protection Units to make further impact on cross-cutting issues we think

is considerable, given the central positioning of the Child Protection Worker as the conduit of all

referrals and as coordinator of meetings concerning children and families and other “client

groups”, since referrals are not rejected as not falling within the remit of the Child Protection Unit

v) Sustainability

We think that changes and outcomes brought about by the Child Protection Units can be

sustained at the sector level and in each implementation region, if the impetus of the Child

Protection service and the initiatives are supported by central and local government, as well as by

the “third sector” of Non-Governmental Organisations

There is no doubt that the service could readily be extended to addressing the needs of other

social excluded categories on several conditions being set- staffing, training, support, goodwill

and supervision

If the development of the Child Protection Units is seen to be of national importance, not only

from the point of view of providing services that actually work in protecting children and

supporting families, but making a significant contribution in providing one of the building blocks

of good governance, social inclusion, provision of a basic safety net and the process of

decentralisation, there is every likelihood that sustainability will be ensured

Our mandate

This report takes the form of an evaluation of the Child Protection Units located in local authority

structures in Albania and follows the requirements of the Terms of Reference drawn up by

UNICEF and ADC.

In having approved the "National Strategy for Children” and in creating an accompanying Action

Plan (2005-2010) the Government of Albania has demonstrated that it is taking seriously the

principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child . Monitoring of this

strategy is undertaken by the "Inter Ministerial Committee on the Rights of Children” and a

Technical Children’s Secretariat

The terms of the evaluation allowed us to conduct a comprehensive Desk Review, which was

invaluable to our familiarising ourselves with the present situation of children and families in

Albania

The degree to which the intentions contained in these high-level government declarations are

being taken seriously is manifested at local level by the creation of Child Protection Units –

which now exist in 14 areas of Albania, at city, town and commune level

Our team was asked by UNICEF and ADC to examine and analyse the impact of four functioning

Child Protection Units, bearing in mind that the original rationale for having created them had

been to assist children at risk of being trafficked and recognising that now the Child Protection

Units were tackling a wider remit. We are expected to suggest improvements for making the

work of these decentralised entities more effective in reaching and making a difference to

intended beneficiaries and to consider the extent to which Child Protection Units might be

developed into responding to referrals of other vulnerable and socially-excluded groups

In particular, we focussed on whether or not the Child Protection Units had discharged their basic

mandate to promote children's rights at the local level, to identify and refer vulnerable children in

need of support, to prevent and protect children from all forms of abuse, exploitation, violence,

neglect and trafficking, by coordinating actions between local actors towards efficient

management of the cases identified

The context: Child Protection Units

It is with these structures that this evaluation primarily is concerned and a range of implications

arising from their performance and development. The inception of Child Protection Units is

based on the National Strategy and Action Plan for Children, ratified by Decisions of the Council

of Ministers 368, dated 31.05.2005 and Decision No.487, dated 30.06.2005

Within the National Child Protection Strategy, the establishment of specialised child protection

offices was seen at the local level operating as social services departments under the

administration of Municipalities or Communes

The Action Plan of the National Child Protection Strategy, point 1.2, clearly foresees “The

creation of creation of specialised structures for the protection of children at a local level”, a duty

seen to be covered by the anticipated State Committee of Child Protection as foreseen in the draft

Children’s Code involving responsible ministries, local government units and non-governmental

organisations as well as the development of “a case management system for children who are

violated and maltreated”

Although the initial impetus for the creation of these organisational units was to tackle

trafficking of children, they can be said to have deepened and widened in terms of reach to

children and families and to other socially excluded individuals and groups in communities – now

in 14 areas of Albania

These entities are embedded within the administrative structures of the Municipality – and three

within the Commune structure – and as such can be considered as embryonic examples of the

beginnings of a free and universal social services geared to children and families in particular

The structure of the Child Protection Units is of enormous significance, as it indicates the

importance that the governing authorities in Albania afford to child protection, as these entities,

once funded by external donors, are now funded, at least partially, by Albanian local authorities

This Report will make reference to a possible formula for future funding. The potential for this

model of social work service designed to support families and protect children to be used as

building blocks for permanent child protection structures in Albania – in partnership with civil

society and international organisations – is clear and realisable

Furthermore, the development of the Child Protection Units- as a core component of social

services and economic aid - fits well with a parallel and continuing process of decentralisation in

Albania. In locating these structures dedicated to protect children and support families at local

level, municipalities and Communes are given an opportunity to provide services to their most

vulnerable and marginalised citizens, that are accessible, accountable and sensitive to local needs.

In doing this, local authorities in Albania are following best practice in family support and child

protection services practised internationally

We were required to scrutinise the ability of these embryonic social service structures to identify

vulnerable, often hard-to reach children and families and whether these families were referred on

appropriately to agencies that could help them and to coordinate interventions in order to avoid

duplication and confusion of purpose and roles. We felt we were able to report positively on the

abilities of the Child Protection Units to achieve this

Furthermore, our evaluation was to analyse information concerning the service users of the Child

Protection Units in order to reveal consistencies and disparities concerning the delivery of the

service, the social and ethnic composition of client groups and examine documentation used to

plan and record the respective interventions

We also included in our examination the of running costs of a Child Protection Units, separating

expenses met by local government in Albania from development costs provided by external

partners to the initiative. We also make reference to the likely long-term costs of not having

family support and child protection services in place

A series of Field Visits was conducted in four separate areas of Albania – to Child Protection

Units which were at different stages of development and which were meeting different

constituencies of need. However, we were struck by the integrity of the operational model in all

four Units, which had the interests of families and children uppermost and dealt with intractable

problems head-on and with determination and resilience

We report on the findings of our Field Visits in detail below, including visits to families and

children as well as Focus Groups and we have included in the Report some indication of our

discussions with and observations of, the Child Protection Units

Our mission required us to examine and report upon matters of relevance, efficiency,

effectiveness, impact and sustainability. Consequently, we were bound to examine precisely what

the work of the Child Protection Units actually was, where the referrals came from and what was

done with them. For this reason we devoted some attention to case management

Since accurate assessment is at the core of confident and competent child protection work, we

also looked at the methods of assessment used. We were reassured to learn that every Child

Protection Worker is required to refer to the Child Protection Worker Guidelines which amounts

to step-by-step procedures when working with challenging and risky situations. We also

examined the paperwork used by the Child Protection Units and again, we were reassured to learn

that standardised pro-formas are used, with which to construct individual files on each child

involved in the service. Mandatory training on both of these is regularly organised and indeed

such training took place for all Child Protection Workers, when we were in Albania. We would,

however, prefer that the Child Protection Worker Guidelines are renamed Child Protection

Worker Procedures, since procedures are binding, unlike guidelines

We have included a separate section on the practical difficulties of establishing the best interests

of children, in a country where there is no agreed, standardised formula for establishing

vulnerability and where the existence of an enormous informal and often fairly invisible economy

makes it difficult to decide precisely what the resources of a family actually are

We make recommendations on the need for national mapping exercise to try to establish the

degree to which children are vulnerable and think that this would be an appropriate task for a

developed and supported Regional State Social Services

We also include sections on confidentiality, whilst recognising that cultures differ on the

importance of this question, whilst making the point that the right to keep private matters off

public agendas is advisable in any culture and separately we refer to matters of social work

education and training and to the need for nationally-agreed standards. We were told of the

turnover of staff in local government and of the lack of authority conferred on social workers. If

there is to be a credible system of child protection in Albania, then it will require to be paid for,

with social workers trained at University level and being required successfully to undertake

practical placements, as there is too often an over-emphasis on social workers produced by

academic process, which has been a problem in several countries in the Balkans. These points are

linked to a proper career structure for social work which should be regarded as a profession with

appropriate status and where social workers who are “fit for purpose” are recruited by local

authorities on a transparent and competitive basis of equal opportunities

We make several references during our report to the need for services to support families and

protect children- and we make the point that these are indivisible- and that this is best organised

by a civil society coalition of like-minded actors in partnership between government at local and

central level, national and international NGO’s, churches and community groups – in a “mixed

economy of care”

We are aware of the existence of a private sector concerned with the care of children, but would

simply remark that robust examination and licensing needs to be brought to bear on this particular

sector, if international experience in this regard is anything to go by. We understand that the

business community in Albania is reluctant to donate to social causes because tax relief for doing

so is not available but we have referred to the need for Child Protection Units to become involved

in fund–raising activities

We have also referred to such media, publicity and awareness-raising as we came across during

our field visits and do realise that without promotion and proactive steps being taken, take-up of

family support and child protection services may be less than hoped for or may become unduly

stigmatised. Radio and television stations should be prevailed upon to offer publicity about the

services offered by Child Protection Units. In some countries, “champions” have been found to be

identified with good causes and perhaps an Albanian celebrity might be found to champion the

cause of Child Protection Units!

Such was the importance of Albania’s National Anti-Trafficking Strategy in the genesis of the

Child Protection Units, that we have inserted a section on this Strategy, which clearly considers

the further development and consolidation of Child Protection Units as being of vital importance

and as the Strategy asserts : - “The present Strategy against Trafficking identifies goals and

objectives that will contribute to the functioning of the overall child protection system in Albania,

in particular through increasing support to these of Child Protection Units already being piloted in

Albania.” The National Anti-Trafficking Strategy also urges the eventual creation of

Municipality/Commune level child protection systems, or ‘child protection safety nets’,

comprising the child protection workers in Child Protection Units in the entire country by 2010.

The Evaluation Team makes mention of the perils and pitfalls of governments making use of the

Non-Governmental sector to provide the bulk of direct services, instead of having them test-bed

and pilot new ways of working by means of demonstration projects

We are also mindful of the need for our study to contain a policy and strategic perspective,

alongside considering practitioner issues and for this reason, we have included remarks on the

policy environment and Albania and links with the European Union

No issue that we came across during our visits and discussions exercised us as much as those

concerned with the shortcomings in Albanian legislation to provide measures on an urgent basis

to protect children and if necessary remove them from dangerous places, with or without the

consent of parents. An equally important and linked concern was the lack of resources for placing

children in a safe place and the fact that if children had to be placed away from home, an

institution seemed to be the only choice. We were most concerned to learn of babies abandoned

in maternity hospitals languishing sometimes for years, in institutions

We are aware of the provisions of the Family Code in Albania in this regard and are struck by the

lack of family-based solutions for children, despite the fact that varieties of foster care have been

piloted in Albania for over ten years. We are also concerned at the possible collision of interests

in trying to reconcile professional foster care with traditional kinship care in Albania – hence we

have devoted as section to these matters

We conclude by feeling confident and indeed enthusiastic, about Child Protection Units in

Albania, which we feel have shown that they have been able to “punch above their weight” in

terms of impact

Our report places great emphasis on what we saw and learned during our field visits and makes

constructive suggestions for improvement. We feel optimistic about the potential for deepening

and widening the ability of the Child Protection Units to provide a service to a wider constituency

of service users, provided a number of conditions are met

Our Terms of Reference required the Evaluation to consider the following criteria and indicators

under the general heading of scope and objectives, which led us to certain conclusions:-

i) Relevance

In the view of the Evaluation Team, the design of the Child Protection Units are well-suited to

the beneficiaries they are designed to serve

It is difficult to envisage another model that would be more relevant, given the present

movement towards decentralisation of services in Albania

ii) Efficiency

Our conclusions concerning efficiency is that, bearing in mind that the Child Protection Units

amount to embryonic social services in Albania, that their inputs are significant, represent value

for money and make best use of scarce resources. Also, it must be borne in mind that these

entities are created as paradigms to be tested to see if they work – and if so – can they be applied

and replicated in every municipality and commune in Albania? It is never the purpose of pilot or

demonstration projects run by civil society organisations to offer direct services to meet all

possible needs that local communities require. The purpose is to establish a working model to see

if the model works in practice and not to provide unlimited direct services and so run the risk of

becoming overwhelmed.

Our indicators took account of stakeholder responses the team received when visiting families,

making use of the service and feedback from Focus Groups and the view of line Ministries and

Non Governmental Organisations in the field of child protection

iii) Effectiveness

We have no doubt that results have been measurable, that the capacity of key players have been

built and moreover, that such results can be considered sustainable

We were informed of the capacity and willingness of social administrators to exercise a wider

remit than a strict definition of their job descriptions would permit and work closely with Child

Protection Workers in joint visits, for example

We learned that there is a serious problem with the concept of cash assistance – as there is not an

adequate definition of poverty – but there is no doubt that the experience of the Child Protection

Units could contribute to the present review of Ndihme Ekonomike that is underway

The present system of social services evidently are not effective in encouraging and enabling

beneficiaries to change their status, but we saw examples of close working cooperation between

Child Protection Workers and social administrators. During interviews with key players and

during the course of Focus Groups we saw and heard of examples of excellent inter-sectoral

cooperation

iv) Impacts

We were left in no doubt that the intervention of the Child Protection Unit had brought about

measurable changes to the welfare of families as evidenced by the majority of beneficiaries we

met. Analysis of the questionnaires completed by children and families confirms this

The potential for Child Protection Units to make further impact on cross-cutting issues we think

is considerable, given the central positioning of the Child Protection Worker as the conduit of all

referrals and as coordinator of meetings concerning children and families and other “client

groups”, since referrals are not rejected as not falling within the remit of the Child Protection Unit

v) Sustainability

We think that changes and outcomes brought about by the Child Protection Units can be

sustained at the sector level and in each implementation region, if the impetus of the Child

Protection service and the initiatives are supported by central and local government, as well as by

the “third sector” of Non-Governmental Organisations

There is no doubt that the service could readily be extended to addressing the needs of other

social excluded categories on several conditions being set- staffing, training, support, goodwill

and supervision

If the development of the Child Protection Units is seen to be of national importance, not only

from the point of view of providing services that actually work in protecting children and

supporting families, but making a significant contribution in providing one of the building blocks

of good governance, social inclusion, provision of a basic safety net and the process of

decentralisation, there is every likelihood that sustainability will be ensured



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