A one-stop shop for social workers to serve children and families better
UNICEF and EU-supported digital platform promotes working and learning together
Budva/Cetinje, 23 June 2022 – Bojana and Milica are psychologists working in the Centres for Social Work in Budva and Cetinje. In an effort to provide the beneficiaries with support, services and protection, they consult numerous documents and contact a number of institutions on a daily basis.
In order to simplify and enhance their work, the Institute for Social and Child Protection developed an educational platform (https://online.zsdzcg.me) with the support of UNICEF and the European Union.
The platform was launched during the coronavirus pandemic, when staff were unable to meet in person, and needed a place to work together, learn and support each other.
Social and child protection professionals can now access all the important information needed to support children and their families in one place. It also provides the opportunity for families to find information about different kinds of support that are available to them.
On the new platform, we have a list of the links of institutions, so we can connect directly and promptly. Recently, a member of the community visited us because he was interested in how he could become a foster parent. After a short conversation, I found a brochure on foster care on the platform and provided him with all the information he needs to know.
“When I have a dilemma in terms of how to act in cases of child begging, the easiest thing for me to do is to access the platform and consult the Protocol on the Action of the Authorities, Institutions and Organizations in Montenegro with Children Living and Working on the Streets”, says Milica.
Apart from being an information portal, the platform is also an effective capacity building tool. Training and information sessions have allowed close to 15 per cent of professionals from the social and child protection system to exchange experiences on topics such as supporting children with behavioural problems, and helping persons with disabilities, with more social workers joining and more topics to be added. Training sessions are also recorded and can be watched at a later time. Those who renew licenses through the portal receive points.
“It is important that we keep developing ourselves professionally so that we can respond to the requests and needs of the beneficiaries,” says Milica.
An important feature of the portal is a section where social workers can ask for help and read tips when they feel overwhelmed.
It is a stressful and demanding job, so we often use the ‘help for helpers’ section, which is designed in a very interesting manner, providing texts on the topic of stress and burnout.
This initiative is part of the Regional Programme to Mitigate the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Lives of Children and Parents in the Western Balkans and Turkey, and is financially supported by the European Union.