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New unit to protect vulnerable children in Vlora


Vlora, Albania: The Municipality of Vlora and Terre des hommes Foundation launch a new Child Protection Unit established within the Social Services Department at the Palace of Sports “Laberia”. This is the first Child Protection Unit in the entire region.
We welcomed the support of Terre des hommes in the establishment of this Unit in our Municipality. Up to now, the municipal Social Services have supported mostly women in need: single mothers, widows and women in vulnerable situations. From now on, we’re expecting that the CPU not only respond to the child’s needs, but also it will influence the establishment of the other social services” said Irena Stasa, Director of Social Service Directory in Vlora Municipality.
Ilir Banushi, Deputy Mayor emphasized that a successful child protection safety net which take care of children well-being is based on the cooperation of all structures. He also mentioned that the Municipality of Vlora is hoping to finalize a Social Area Plan . Renate Hermanns, Deputy Representative of OSCE Presence in Albania spoke about the need to coordinate better among different structures and mentioned the CPU to be a central player in this direction. The Child Protection Worker of Vlora explained in details the work the Unit will undertake. Children from a city school staged a small drama play on the role of school, by the end of the activity.
The Child Protection Unit, as in other cities of Albania, provides support to children at risk or victims of violence, abuse or trafficking with their families. This Child Protection Unit (CPU) in Vlora started operating on January 5th 2010 and the municipal Child Protection Worker and her counterpart from the NGO Terre des hommes have already identified 13 children who have dropped out of school or in need of medical support. Children, parents, professionals and Vlora citizens can also turn to this unit and address child protection issues and concerns.
In the Unit, the Child Protection Worker will be in charge of identifying and protecting children from violence, abuse, neglect, social exclusion, trafficking, exploitation and other phenomena that affect their development and will offer direct services such as counselling and family support. The CPU will also monitor and analyse the socio-economical situation of children in need and their families. The work of CPU will be conducted in collaboration with a set of actors such as teachers, school psychologists, doctors, regional state social services authorities, police officers and law authorities to improve the situation of children in the city. In just few months of functioning of the Child Protection Unit, staff has received training, established partnerships with private and public actors to provide services to children, and promoted this new service to the community.

Vlora’s CPU is the 8th Unit to be established in Albania with the support of Terre des hommes Delegation in Albania. The CPU in Vlora, represented by the Child Protection Worker and the Community Youth Specialist have already received some trainings and will be supported further on to develop its capacities. In total 15 Child Protection Units all over the country provide support to the most marginalized children.
The establishment of the CPU in Vlora is supported by Terre des hommes in the frame of the project Developing a Child Protection Safety Net in Albania. The project aims to strengthen the child protection system and to mobilize the local community to take actions regarding child protection concerns. Terre des hommes Delegation in Albania implements Child Protection Safety Net project with the financial support of the Austrian Development Cooperation, UNICEF, the Swiss Development Cooperation, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, OAK foundation and Medicor Foundation. [VL]