22 January 2024

Providing a Lifeline for Ukrainian Refugee Children

This report explores the impacts of humanitarian cash assistance for Ukrainian refugee children in Slovakia, covering 3 cash schemes: The Material Needs Benefit programme: a benefit targeting all materially deprived households registered for humanitarian cash support through UNHCR. The assistance was delivered monthly from June to September 2022.  The Carer’s Benefit (for children): a benefit targeting households caring for children with specific needs, i.e. a severe disability or medical condition, as assessed by UNICEF’s partner TENENET. The assistance was delivered monthly from June to November 2022.  The  Cash for Child Development and Education programme: a one-off benefit targeting all households with children aged 0–17 years. The transfer aimed to support the education and care of Ukrainian children.   Some of the key findings include: Regular and predictable financial support was essential for beneficiaries, providing them with financial security and preventing negative coping strategies such as  cutting down on food and essential goods and services. UNICEF cash assistance accounted for 40–50% of the budget of households with children with disabilities. State housing support was essential for households, contributing significantly to the overall effectiveness of humanitarian cash support, as  it gave beneficiaries the flexibility to use their available income on essential goods, mainly food. UNICEF cash assistance improved refugee  households’ access to nutritious, high quality  food. Families with children on special diets  could buy better quality and more diverse  food and reduce their dependency on food  banks. UNICEF cash assistance helped  households to cover out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, especially those with children  needing specialized care.
02 May 2019

Call to Action - Strengthening the social service workforce in Europe and Central Asia

Available data suggest that more than 22 million children are living in poverty in the Europe and Central Asia Region.  Children are far more likely to be living in poverty compared to adults, with some children particularly vulnerable – children with disabilities, children from large families, single parent households and Roma children. A strong social service workforce – well-trained and supported professionals who work to ensure the healthy development and well-being of children and families, is critical in addressing poverty, social exclusion and violence. Over the last 30 years a considerable social service workforce of many tens of thousands of personnel has been deployed in the countries of the Europe and Central Asia region. In many countries social service workers have caseloads that are too high, while their skills are poorly aligned with their responsibilities and functions. These workers – critical to the well-being of the most vulnerable children and families in society simply do not receive enough support.  With the aim of strengthening social work and the social service workforce across the region, 200 government officials, academics, civil society representatives and UNICEF specialists from 22 countries across the Region[i] convened in Bucharest on the 21 November 2018. The outcome of the conference is a Regional Call for Action endorsed by more than 20 countries from Europe and Central Asia. The Call to Action outlines key principles in strengthening the social service workforce: Agreeing to a common set of definitions of the social service and allied workforces in the ECA region Effective long-term planning of the social service workforce and aligning functions, processes, competencies and qualifications Developing the competencies of the social service workforce Supporting the social service workforce Developing the allied workforces Additional resources to help guide social work professionals and governments in strengthening social services are available for download in the box on the right. [i] Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo (UNSCR 1244), Kyrgyzstan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.
30 October 2018

In Focus: Ending Child Poverty

Across the Europe and Central Asia Region, regardless of national wealth, too many children are living in monetary poverty and many are growing up without the basic means they need to grow, learn and stay safe. The evidence is clear. Monetary poverty is closely linked to a range of serious risks for individuals and societies. Above all, poverty is a violation of children’s rights, stifling their potential. Poverty hurts children’s cognitive development and, in turn, leads to lower income and health in adulthood. Young children are slower to develop reading skills when households cannot afford books, toys and learning materials. And the chronic stress of growing up poor appears to have a direct impact on the brain: the longer children live in poverty, the greater their levels of stress and the greater the impact. The available data suggest that more than 22 million children are living in poverty in the Region. Their age and their dependence on adults leave them far more vulnerable to the impact of poverty, with potentially lifelong consequences. At the same time, national social protection programmes – such as child benefits – are not adequately addressing child poverty because of limited coverage and the limited amount provided per family. UNICEF and its partners (including the World Bank and European Union) are contributing to the Region’s poverty reduction efforts by: Supporting reinforced policies to tackle child poverty. Providing quality and accessible services for the most deprived children. Providing a minimum income for families with children. Ensuring that financial barriers do not stop children from reaching their full potential.