UNICEF calls for improved protection of the most vulnerable children
Montenegro has committed itself to guaranteeing the realization of the rights of every child
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PODGORICA, 22 April 2022 - Children need to be protected from all risks which could affect them in their interaction with service provider personnel. This is also known as child safeguarding, and it means making all institutions, organizations and activities safer for all children.
Child safeguarding measures protect children from potential risks of physical violence, sexual violence, exploitation and abuse, economic exploitation, when their physical and emotional safety are not ensured, when their physical, emotional and phycological needs are neglected, harmful cultural practices, violation of privacy, and exposure without permission.
By being a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Montenegro has committed itself to guaranteeing the realization of the rights of every child, with particular focus on those who are the most at risk and disadvantaged, and to provide them with essential social and child protection services.
UNICEF welcomes all the progress achieved so far in advancing the child protection system in Montenegro and welcomes the planned development of the new National Social and Child Protection Strategy (2023–2027) and the planned reform of the relevant legislative framework. These reforms and strategic plans present time-critical opportunities to advance the coverage, quality and sustainability of essential services, as well as ensuring improved child safeguarding measures.
UNICEF Montenegro has been actively working with the Ministry of Finance and Social Welfare on development and implementation of a short- and a long-term plan of action for the progressive development of an essential package of social and child protection services, developing the economic case for increased investments in social and child protection services, designing mechanisms for sustainable financing of essential services provided by state and non-state actors, including a review of the system of licensing of service providers, ensuring effective and timely quality control of services, and application of safeguarding procedures for all professionals and service providers engaged in direct work with children.
The currently available services for the most vulnerable children, in addition to being insufficient to cover the needs, remain unsustainable due to systemic gaps in funding predictability and institutional capacities. Examples of these essential services which need to be made sustainable include a family outreach service, an SOS helpline for child victims of violence, psycho-social support, a parents’ helpline, free legal aid, and shelters for women and child victims of violence.
Juan Santander, UNICEF Montenegro Representative, points out that UNICEF is ready to continue supporting the efforts needed in order to overcome critical gaps within the social and child protection system. “In its work, UNICEF advocates and implements child safeguarding measures at all levels and with all partners. Our continued support to the Ministry of Finance and Social Welfare includes institutional capacity building, availability and sustainability of social and child protection services and safeguarding procedures that are in line with the EU standards. UNICEF is calling on the authorities to ensure quality implementation, monitoring and sustainability of social and child protection services,” Santander said.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.