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2009 Albania: The Impact of Social Assistance Mechanism on Reducing Child Poverty in Albania

Executive summary

The paper “The impact of social assistance mechanism on reducing child poverty in Albania” addresses the dilemma of the relevance of the existing social protection mechanism in Albania vis a vis child rights. In the analysis provided here, two main arguments are advanced: Firstly, it is necessary to measure the effectiveness of the current protection schemes, not only from the economic point of view, but also from the social point of view. The critical issues of transition in Eastern European countries and the re-occurrence of profound crises have demonstrated clearly the inaccuracy and insufficiency of the effects of social protection in these countries. The key dimension highlighted in the present paper is the relationship between the objectives of a social protection mechanism (to protect, integrate and develop people) and the concrete result (reduction of social exclusion).

Secondly, for an effective poverty reduction strategy to be designed, multidimensionality of poverty should be placed in a broader institutional and policy context. Only within such a context and in which social protection policy plays a role can it transform into a mechanism that helps institutions, networks and associations to interact.

The question addressed here relates to the new principles that this mechanism should apply: Should the social assistance benefit be provided based only on income indicators or non-income dimensions of poverty should also be taken into account? Finding an answer to the addressed question, leads us into the necessity to propose the most appropriate mechanism of social assistance benefit, which:
􀂾 Impact on reducing child social exclusion
􀂾 Promote realization of basic child rights

The paper brings information based on the assessment of the mechanism of social assistance functioning from a child rights prospective. The assessment is conducted by the Institute of Public Policies in collaboration with the State Social Services. The assessment is already finalized although the final report is not yet ready in English language.

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