Analysis of the Work of Centres for Social Work in Montenegro
The analysis indicates that Montenegro has been investing significant efforts and resources in improving the work of the CSWs in the past 10 years.
T he current social challenges in Montenegro, as well as in the other countries of South-East Europe are: poverty, social exclusion, unemployment (especially among young people and women), internal migration, social polarization and socio-demographic trends, such as aging populations. In order to better respond to the social challenges, Montenegro has been carrying out comprehensive reform of the social and child protection system over the last 10 years. The initial incentive for the reform was the expert support of UN agencies (UNICEF and UNDP) and the significant financial support of the European Union (IPA 2010 and 2014), which resulted in the harmonization of the legal and strategic frameworks with international
documents and standards, establishment of the Institute for Social and Child Protection, implementation of a comprehensive reform of the Centres for Social Work, as well as intensification of the deinstitutionalization and decentralization processes, which resulted in a significant reduction in the number of beneficiaries of residential care and the expansion of the number of services provided at the family and community levels. One of the most significant results of the reform is the reform of the CSWs, aimed at introducing case management methodology into the work of the CSWs, changing the organization of the work of the centres and the introduction of supervision. Centres for Social Work are the key institutions in the area of social and child protection in Montenegro, with the public authority to provide social and child protection assistance to their beneficiaries: children (families), adults and elderly people. There are 13 functioning Centres for Social Work with 12 branch units, covering 24 municipalities throughout the whole territory of Montenegro. In 2011, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare conducted the initial analysis of the work of the centres, with the technical
assistance of UNICEF and financial assistance of the EU. The analysis determined the need for a comprehensive reform of the centres in order to increase the number and capacities of the staff, introduce new working methodologies, introduce territorial reorganization, etc. The present assessment was created as a result of the need of the state of Montenegro to measure the progress that has been made in improving work with beneficiaries of the social and child protection system, through the impact of a number of reform initiatives of importance for the operation of the CSWs, implemented from 2011 to the present day. The assessment was carried out as an integral part of the comprehensive reform of the social and child care system, at the beginning of the implementation of the five-year strategic plan for the development of the social and child protection system in Montenegro (Strategy
for the Development of the Social and Child Protection System for the Period 2018–2022), and in that sense it aims to generate data and information, on the basis of which decision makers can develop policies and measures to improve the organization and work of the CSWs.