First child protection database installed in all social work centres in Montenegro
PODGORICA, NOVEMBER 27, 2012 – The very first child protection database has been installed in all social work centres at the local level and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare at the central level, and its ceremonial launch will be organized in early 2013. This database will provide exact and reliable data on the characteristics and needs of children who are in contact with the social and child protection system at the local and national level.
This is a result of the ongoing project “Social Welfare and Child Care System Reform: Enhancing Social Inclusion” with the overall goal to support the social and child welfare reform process in Montenegro including to ensure that every child has their right to live in a family environment fulfilled.
So far, this 30-month project, which started in January 2011, has contributed to several fundamental achievements in Montenegro’s child care system reform: adoption of the national fostering strategy 2012-2016; expansion of the network of day care centres for children with disability in the country; and preparation of the new Law on Social and Child Protection in line with international standards.
In March 2012, the Government of Montenegro adopted the National Fostering Strategy (2012-2016). Its implementation will lead to the establishment of a quality foster care system in the country in the near future. Consequently, the number of children without parental care living in institutions will significantly decrease.
In order to ensure that children with disabilities live at home with their families and at the same time get quality professional care, day care centres for children with disabilities need to be accessible to children in every municipality. So far, within this project, UNICEF supported Government of Montenegro to establish 4 new day care centres for children with disability. As a result, 6 out of 21 municipalities now have this service.
“The establishment of these day care centres has accompanied a huge increase in a number of children with disability attending school,” said Benjamin Perks, UNICEF Representative in Montenegro.
Finally, one of the most important project results so far is related to the harmonization of the Law on Social and Child Protection with international standards. A new draft of this Law prohibits placement of children aged 0-3 in institutions unless all alternatives have been exhausted.
“The ultimate goal of the social and child protection reform should be a shift from institutional care to social protection on community level, where support can be provided to each family and individual,” said Suad Numanovic, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare.
This draft has been verified by the Government in July 2012, and it is submitted to the Parliament for adoption in the near future.
These and other results were presented at the mid-term evaluation of this project organized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, together with UNDP and UNICEF in November 2012.
“The Social Welfare and Child Care System Reform: Enhancing Social Inclusion” project is implemented by the Government of Montenegro, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Education and Sport, with technical assistance of UNICEF, UNDP and with financial support from the European Union in the amount of 3 million Euros.