Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection – KOMF, representing twenty-seven non-governmental organizations, being aware that the Ministry of Finance has launched consultation process as part of the first phase of the concept-document on Law on Local Government Finance, has addressed to the Minister of Finance the proposal for the creation of a Specific Grant for Social Services in order to ensure the sustainable and fair financing of social services.
– Creation of a specific grant for social services under the Law no. 03/L-049 on Local Government Finance. This grant should be in addition among grants for education and health as a specific grant for social services. The Social Services Grant should contain clear criteria in order to ensure fair segregation and adequate funding for social services. To ensure the well-being and provision of quality services, it is recommended that LLGF be oriented according to one of the two alternatives of KOMF:
Alternative I: Specific grant for social services of a closed type which is a more adequate alternative because it ensures a sustainable minimum financing in offering social services;
Alternative II: A dedicated allocation to social services as a percentage within the general grant10. It is worth to emphasize that the second alternative doesn’t guarantee financial security at the level of the first alternative.
- Despite the decentralization of social services since January 2009, municipalities have made very few concrete actions to allocate budget to protect children in their municipality. The lack of a specific grant for municipalities for social services prohibits the provision of minimal quality child protection services. This does not allow municipal institutions in fulfilling their mandate and obligations foreseen by the legislation in force. If this financing modality continues the situation may deteriorate to a degree as to render the Centers for Social Works into non-functional centers which, due to insufficient financing, will have poorer performance or will not be able to provide social services. In order for this municipal function to stop remaining under the municipal mercy (having in mind the financing in the last years) it is suggested that a sustainable solution for financing within the Law on Local Government Finance be found. Below we will provide two options for financing within the LLGF.
- The latest data available of Kosovo institutions indicate a high level of child involvement at work, where 10.7 percent of children in Kosovo are involved in work while 6.8 percent of children work in hazardous conditions. 61.4 percent of children up to the age of 14 have suffered from psychological or physical violence. Children with disabilities do not fully realize their rights in the areas of education, health and social welfare. About 1200 children are without parental care, sheltered by relatives, family shelter or residential shelter.
- Child protection in Kosovo remains subject to criticism in international reports. This is also reflected in the recent Progress Report. Regarding financial support, the report emphasizes that Kosovo should ensure that municipalities have sufficient resources to provide social services within their responsibilities, while budget allocation should be made in order to have effective decentralization. It is recommended that the solution must be defined in the Law on Local Government Finance.
Our proposals are in accordance with the legal provisions of the legislation.
- The Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, in Article 50, foresees the rights of the child, among other things, that children enjoy the right to protection and care for their well-being as well as that all actions pertaining to children, undertaken either by public institutions or by private institutions, should be in the best interest of the child.
- Law on Family Nr. 2004/32, Article 2 defines that that the Family is a natural and fundamental unit of society and enjoys the right for protection. In addition, Article 5 defines that children without parental care, and those with diagnosed mental or physical disorders, as well as parents who are not capable to create necessary living conditions for themselves and their children, are placed under special financial and social support.
- Law on Social and Family services Nr.02/L-17, determines that in circumstances where there is a lack of family support or where the family support is insufficient to ensure the welfare of an individual, the State has a duty to provide Social and Family Services. Article 6 of the same law determines that each Municipality, through its relevant Directorate, is responsible for ensuring the provision of Social and Family Services within its territory to a standard specified by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare.
- Law Nr.03/L-040 on Local Self Government, Chapter III, Article 16 states that Municipalities shall exercise own, delegated and enhanced competencies in accordance with the law. Article 17 states that Municipalities shall have full and exclusive powers, insofar as they concern the local interest, while respecting the standards set forth in the active legislation in different areas, including item k) provision of family and other social welfare services, such as the care for the vulnerable, foster care, child care, elderly care, including registration and licensing of these care centres, recruitment, payment of salaries and training of social welfare professionals. Chapter IV, Article 24, paragraph 24, item 1, states that Municipalities shall have their own budgets and finances to finance their competencies.
In conclusion, we express our support and readiness to contribute with additional information in regard to our letter.