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Inadequate State of Social Services in Kosovo, Analysis Shows

Centers for Social Work face challenges in providing proper services to citizens, in 28 municipalities of Kosovo.

A report by the Ministry of Justice and Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection in Kosovo, KOMF, that was presented on Wednesday, in Prishtina showed that understaffed social work centers have been unable to support the public appropriately.

The small number of staff and psychologists, insufficient spaces and outdated equipment are just some of the basic problems CSW face in Kosovo.

The Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, has promised to support these institutions.

“We are committed to do our best to provide the necessary financial support for the operation of the Centers for Social Work. In this regard, our next step will be the creation of a sustainable contracting scheme for the non-governmental sector, with the aim of providing direct, sustainable and quality services,” she explained. 

However, the director of KOMF, Donjeta Kelmendi, said that some legal changes should be made regarding social services.

“It is really urgent to make changes in the Law on Social and Family Services, the Law on Local Government Finances, the Law on Procurement, so that we have some kind of a sustainable social services scheme,” she added.

Meanwhile, the head of UNICEF office in Kosovo, Nona Zicherman, spoke about the importance of social centers in the country .

“In Kosovo, social services play an essential role in supporting children and families, identifying and managing risks. The social protection system currently in place struggles with liberal exemptions to prevent violence and abuse,” she said.

The analysis showed the current state of the Centers for Social Work with a focus on challenges in the legal, institutional and functional aspects. 

Co-authors Blerta Perolli-Shehu, social issues expert and Bedri Tahiri, legal expert, have presented some of the main findings of the analysis.

The findings show that there are CSW that do not have official vehicles in their possession  to perform necessary  services for the citizens, while most centers  operate with only one vehicle.

“Only 28 percent of the centers have adequate infrastructural conditions to provide social services; over 50 percent of the centers have declared that they do not provide access for people with disabilities,” the analysis concludes. 

Other findings show that only 12 of the 28 municipalities have reported that they are staffed with social workers and that the number of psychologists is very low.

“There is no sufficient room at the premises for people to work in, there are no photocopiers and most of the equipment is in bad  state”, the analysis shows.

According to the data, the average number of employees at the CSW are  3-4.

According to the findings, the number of officials is not in proportion to the indicators, such as the number of residents, the number of beneficiaries or the number of children in need of social services.

Exceptions to this rule are large municipalities such as Prishtina [18 employees in 3 of its units], Mitrovica [9 employees], Peja and Gjakova [8 employees each], and Prizren [7 employees].

The analysis further shows that there are also differences in the budget allocated to the centers of different municipalities, while the formula used for budget allocation remains unknown.

Other data reads that the CSW do not even have emergency funds.

The Centers for Social Work of the 28 municipalities of Kosovo which were part of the analysis are those of: Prishtina, Prizren, Gjakova, Peja, Mitrovica, Gjilani, Ferizaj, Podujeva, Rahovec, Suhareka, Kamenica, Kaçaniku, Skenderaj, Deçan, Drenas, Malisheva, Klina, Istogu, Fushë Kosova, Vitia, Shtimja, Lipjani, Dragashi, Hani i Elezit, Juniku, Shtërpca, Partesh, Ranillugu.

In total, across Kosovo there are 38 Centers for Social Work in 38 municipalities, with about 400 social services personnel  and social welfare workers.

Centers for Social Work are responsible for providing social and family services to citizens in need, social protection, counseling, material assistance for people in social need.

20/04/2023 - 15:09

20 April 2023 - 15:09

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.