Albania has made remarkable efforts in recent years to establish the fundamental pillars for the Child Protection System. The core legislative and policy framework around child protection was significantly reinforced in 2017, with the adoption of the new Law on the Rights and Protection of the Child and the Criminal Justice for Children Code, both drafted with UNICEF’s extensive support. A dedicated institutional entity — The State Agency on Child Rights and Protection — grew a local network of Child Protection Workers (CPWs), which increases the outreach of Child Protection services everywhere. The process is aligned with a ‘systems building’ approach to child protection, focused on addressing root causes of children’s vulnerability, rather than symptoms alone. However, the entire system is in its infancy and requires significant support, especially at the service delivery level.
The new legal provisions require municipalities to provide at least one dedicated full time CPW if the number of children in that municipality is more than 3,000. Otherwise the CPWs are considered part-time. The law also requires that CPWs have social work background and experience. But that’s not the situation in 2018:
The biggest weakness of the system, besides a deficit in terms of available qualified workforce, is reflected in the uneven distribution of needed resources and capacities. According to the State Agency on Child Rights and Protection, there are massive disparities in the number of cases reported by different CPWs per year. In fact, out of existing 209 CPWs, only 83 CPWs reported that they managed one (or more) child protection case in 2016.