Child protection systems in the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe have witnessed a series of important reforms over the past decade. The deinstitutionalisation process (i.e. transitioning from institutional towards family- and community-based service provision) started in most of these countries, followed by a social care service reform which concentrates on developing alternative care services. The education sectors are being reformed as well in order to accommodate children with specific educational needs into the mainstream schools (e.g. children with disabilities). The provision of appropriate forms of childcare shifted from the national level to the local and regional levels. Local authorities try to cover the needs by developing community-based services, but the process is slow due to a lack of sustainable funding, low capacities at the local level, and a lack of procedures and mechanisms for service delivery.
Kornelia Maier, SOS Children’s Villages Worldwide, Hermann Gmeiner Fund Germany
The Feasibility Study will provide a comprehensive analysis of the current child protection policies in Albania, Armenia, Belarus, North Macedonia and Ukraine and will evaluate to what extent a new SOS Children’s Villages Worldwide regional programme will contribute to the fulfilment of human rights of children in the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe. The Feasibility Study will focus on children living in formal care (residential and alternatives to residential care), children temporarily separated from their parents, as well as children at risk of being separated from their parents.
The Feasibility Study will identify existing needs of the target groups, will look at how national systems react to these needs, and identify the child care policy gaps in each country. The study will also evaluate the SOS Children’s Villages Worldwide programme based on its relevance in supporting the target group, their effectiveness, their efficiency, significance, and sustainability.
The feasibility analysis will be done in four main steps:
- Country analysis
- Ex-ante evaluation of the programme intervention
- Validation workshop
- Programme recommendations
The Feasibility Study will draw on an extensive desk review, including examination of a wide range of national and regional legislations and regulations, plans, studies, reports and statistics. In addition, the Feasibility Study will consult relevant actors through key informant interviews. The interviewees will contribute with their first-hand knowledge and thus complement the information collected through desk research and secondary data analysis. The following actors will be consulted:
- Local authorities
- Service providers and professionals working in the child protection sector
- SOS National Associations
- International donors