International Day of Persons with Disabilities, continues to find children with disabilities, unprotected by the state.
Although Kosovo designates cash entitlements to children with disabilities families as one element of protection. the Law on Material Support to Families of Children with Disabilities, continues to not guarantee comprehensive protection to all children with disabilities but rather only recognises the right to material compensation for children with permanent disabilities. It therefore discriminates and does not cover children with disabilities who have temporary disabilities nor children with partial disabilities.
Community based social services in municipal level for children with disabilities continue to be very limited. Efforts have been made to operate day care centres (managed by NGOs), but such services remain mainly supported by foreign agencies and donors, while state support is not structured, it is not sustainable and at the same time remains very limited and without a long–term approach.
The rights of children with disabilities regarding their access to education are included within the Law on Pre University Education. There is lack of institutional willingness in budgetary planning for implementation of laws and strategies to achieve inclusive education for children with disabilities. Priorities related to these investments are mainly oriented in capital investments, while for the physical infrastructure, assistants, commuting teachers and the transport of children who are registered in the regular education system, there is no allocation of necessary funds.
Teachers do not yet have the requisite training and resources to consistently include and support children with disability. Support and assistance to parents and outreach is weak, fragmented and mostly limited to civil society initiatives.
With no adequate and appropriate local services, many families feel incapable of supporting their children’s psychosocial development, physical rehabilitation at home and inclusion in schools and community life.
For all public buildings, physical infrastructure to support children with disabilities should be required and made a priority. Related policies that regulate this issue are already in place, but they are not put into practice yet (in hospitals, schools, courts, and municipal assemblies, Centers for Social Work for example).
Finally, there is limited data on the exact number of children with disabilities in Kosovo because there is no public institution that collects this data. The lack of national and centralized data limits responsive planning and the development of supportive programs for intervention.