Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection – KOMF, on behalf of the mission to protect child rights in Kosovo, since 2015 has sent to the Government of Kosovo and political parties the recommendation for the planning and implementation of child benefit. In 2015, KOMF has offered this recommendation as a medium-term on given the fiscal space in Kosovo.
KOMF fully supports child benefits and declares that provision of child benefits, has been documented in many countries of the world as the most effective instrument to alleviate poverty and which is implemented in almost all South-East European countries, and of course the European Union ones.
There are several arguments in favor of child benefit. The relocation of some of the costs from families with children to the wider society affects the growth of overall social welfare (contributing to horizontal equality). On the other side, since child benefits avoid gaps in covering all families in need, they improve the position of poorer families that often fail to take or do not meet the criteria for social assistance, based on policies with many harsh criteria (contributing to vertical equality).
KOMF provides three additional arguments why it should be invested in children:
Economic argument: By investing in children, a more healthy and qualified workforce will be created, which can contribute more to economic development by adopting new technologies and skills in line with market needs;
Ethical argument: Investments in the field of child protection are indispensable for every country that supports human rights;
Political argument: Insufficient social investment, deep inequality and high poverty, hamper the development of a country and undermine its social cohesion.
Resolution of the European Parliament B7-0004 / 2014 on the process of Kosovo’s integration to the EU (2013/2881 (RSP), with special emphasis on paragraph 38 that stipulates the rights of children and child poverty, appealed to the Kosovo authorities to entirely implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child and recommends policies for child poverty to be reviewed, including the modification of the social assistance scheme and the introduction of a universal benefit for children.
Practices and models from other countries in the region and Europe are different with regard to child benefit, in terms of the age of children, the number of children in the family and the amount of child benefit. As far as age is concerned, states have largely set the age limit of 18 years. As far as models are concerned, some countries practice the model of universal child benefit, which implies unconditional transfers for all families with children, regardless of their income level or employment status. Models may also include establishing or escalating payments based on annual family income, number of children in the family, or escalation of benefits according to the age of children.
The Republic of Kosovo should in advance carefully analyze and establish the most appropriate model for the Kosovo context, always having in consideration the main criteria of child protection and wellbeing.