Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection in Kosovo – KOMF addressed a letter to the Minister of Finance, Besnik Bislimi, requesting the inclusion of several categories as beneficiaries within the Emergency Fiscal Package. Specifically, KOMF requires that the Scheme for Material Support for Families of Children with Permanent Disabilities, Foster Families for Children without Parental Care and the professional staff of shelters working 24 hours a day, be part of the Emergency Fiscal Package to ensure social welfare for all children.
KOMF considers that welfare and social services should be a priority and one of the main pillars of governance. Therefore, KOMF requires the Minister of Finance and the Government to ensure the inclusion of the following categories in the Emergency Fiscal Package.
- The Scheme for Material Support for Families of Children with Permanent Disabilities supports families with children with permanent disabilities in the amount of 100 Euros per month. The number of children benefiting from this scheme currently in Kosovo is 2,360 children. The amount of 100 Euros is insufficient to cover the basic needs (food products, hygienic products, therapeutic treatment, necessary equipment, didactic-teaching materials, medicines, etc.) for children with disabilities.
- Foster families that provide housing for children without parental care who are relatives of the child (Relatives housing) receive EUR 75 per month for child’s monthly expenses. While families that shelter children without parental care and are not relatives of the child (alternative foster families), receive 250 Euros per month for the child’s monthly expenses. Currently, the number of children without parental care in family housing with relatives is 497 children, while the number of children in alternative family housing is 54. Alternative shelter families are voluntary families recruited by the Centers for Social Work to provide housing for children without parental care, withaout any social benefit in the name of being a foster family and thus endanger their sustainability.
Because of the reasons mentioned above and because of the fact that household expenditures have increased as a result of the situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we request that the above two schemes be included in the emergency package, providing a monetary certain amount for the following months.
- Shelters or residential centers that provide 24-hour services for children without parental care, victims of domestic violence, victims of abuse and trafficking throughout this period have continued to provide services with full capacity. Like many positions that have been assessed and considered risky in this period, these positions also provide 24-hour services, are open to new cases in need of accommodation, are directly exposed to the risk of infection in their workplace. We request that the professional staff of the shelters that provide direct services for 24 hours (not management and administrative staff) be also beneficiaries within the emergency fiscal package – specifically part of the Measure no. 6.
The Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection which represents 31 non-governmental organizations in the field of protection of children’s rights, welcomes the government’s initiative to approve the Emergency Fiscal Package in the amount of 179.6 million Euros, considering it as a big step, which is expected to mitigate the economic damage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, KOMF expresses its deep concern over the fact that the above categories are left outside this package; therefore KOMF requires the attention of institutions, in supporting children with disabilities and children without parental care during the COVID-19 pandemic.