Child Rights Organisations Call for Increase in National Budget to Protect Children

CRCA / ECPAT Albania requested an increase in the national budget for the protection of children from violence, the elimination of poverty and the well-being of children, three areas where this budget presents serious shortcomings. At the most recent discussions in the Parliamentary Committees on Education, Health and Social Protection, the shortcomings at the Draft Budget Law for 2022 were addressed with MP’s.

The Director of CRCA / ECPAT Albania, Altin Hazizaj, underlined: “What we note as a concern is that while the budget of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection has increased, this is not reflected in the provision of better funded social services or financial compensation for children victims of sexual violence. We ask the Ministry and the MPs to allocate a specific budget for children”.

Another concern that rose during the discussions was the amount of support that the Government should provide to children in need. According to a number of studies, child poverty has increased due to Covid. Only from the cash handouts scheme we can see that there are at least 150,000 children living in absolute poverty, while receiving a very modest financial support. Reports from international organizations show a higher figure of child poverty. Almost 40% of children do not have the opportunity to consume a hot meal a day. The Albanian Government does not have a national program against poverty and neither do the municipalities have such programs.

In the discussions, the difficult situation that the country overcame regarding the Covid-19 pandemic was not left untouched. A category in dire need are young people. COVID 19 in addition to families has also affected young people. The lack of social services to young people has never been raised. CRCA / ECPAT Albania, asked the parliamentary committees from this budget to also prioritise funding of social services for youth.

The main point of the discussions with the Parliamentary Commission of Media and Education was the lack of budget for education. The budget of 2022 instead of increasing, this year is decreasing. Requesting a change in education priorities regarding the allocation of the 2022 national budget, the experts of the Coalition for Education in Albania (ACVE) and CRCA / ECPAT Albania, requested a higher budget dedicated to children with special needs.

CRCA / ECPAT Albania for years has advocated to increase the budget in many areas related to children, including education and child protection. CRCA and ACE for the last 10 years are advocating for an increase to 6% of the national budget for education.