Problem Statement: In the last 20-30 years, the Eastern Partnership countries are in the process of systemic changes. In the context of social protection system reforms, democracy, human rights, and decentralization of the power have been among the most significant ideologies in this region.
At this stage, the processes have reached to the point where there is a need to re-interpret and reform the past. The reason is that sectoral developments have been so far fragmental and aimed at responding to the certain problems in crisis situation.
The approaches that have been applied in this area were based on the basis of general and standardized distribution. As a result, no proportionate investment has been made towards prevention of social risks and introduction of proactive approaches in community-based social services, which would strengthen the family’s potential to care for their children and other family members. More than that, the states are not ready to face new challenges of the modern world and new services required by beneficiaries, which brings again social protection in to an uncertain environment.
Strategies to Address the Problem: Experiences show that community-based services are the closest to both families and children and better aware about the local issues. Specialists at this level also possess local, sub-cultural context.The cost of social support and social protection system, which is the foundation of such a standardized organizational approach is extremely high: there is no comprehensive response to problems and these problems are constantly being reproduced. Therefore, people continue to be dependent on social programs, not seeing other alternatives and beliving that state its entirely responsible for their assistance and support.
This means that introduction and and maintaining of few core principles will allow to design a more effective system of child and family support social services, which on one hand will mitigate existing social risks and, on the other hand, will prevent its further deeper manifestation.
- Professionalization of family support social services with an inclusion of multidisciplinary teams
- Adjustment of the existing services to the needs of families in communities including the promotion of community participation
- Ensuring sustainability of service provision
- Mobilization of community resources and promotion of cooperation at local level
- Development of a culture of partnership and cooperation between state and non-state actors;
Recommendations: In this context, the governments and the key actors of relevant fields should undertake the following steps:
- Decentralize social services by not only transiting service provision, but also shifting financial resources and management functions to the community level.
- Establish community-based, viable social services in particular areas; ensure specialists with necessary professional skills and knowledge (tailored trainings and courses) including support staff with professional background, as well as social workers, who will act on evidence-based approaches.
- Delegate mandate and responsibilities to community-based social services with an aim to strengthen families in communities
- Continue investments towards enhancement of community-based networks of social services considering their preventive nature.
Rationalize the procedure of providing supportive and empowering services to families through harmonization of referral mechanisms and intervention methodologies.