In collaboration with The Republic Institute for Social Protection and the Center for Youth Integration, on March 24, 2016 international conference "Practice and potential in the field of protection of children in Serbia" was organised in Belgrade. The aim of the meeting was to present Child Protection Hub and the results of the regional and national research 'Mapping of Social Service Workforce and practices in the field of children protection' , which was conducted in all eight countries participating in the project. The event was attended by about 90 participants from over 50 Centers for social work from all over Serbia, but also from the various institutions and civil society organizations.
Local project coordinator, Dragana Vuckovic from the Center of Youth Integration, updated guests on Child Protection Hub's activities and major results in 2015. Special attention was paid to the presentation of ChildHub platform www.childhub.org as a resource for professionals who deal with social protection and child protection. The platform is multilingual, contains relevant news from the field of child protection, as well as the online library, the possibilities for connecting and networking with professionals from the region and beyound, forum, expert advice, vacancies, trainings, seminars and conferences. The local coordinator also emphasized the importance of cooperation and partnership between Center for Youth Integration and The Republic Institute for Social Protection and emphasized the support and assistance that this institution has provided in the organization and realization of this event.
Director of The Republic Institute for Social Protection, Mr Predrag Petrovic has presented role and activities of the Institute in the field of protection of children, with particular focus on activities aimed at strengthening the professional competencies of professionals who work with children who are users of the social security system, emphasizing also their roles and responsibilities in the process of licensing professionals and accreditation of training programs in the social welfare system.
The Executive Director of the Center for Youth Integration, Marko Tošić, informed the participants about the activities of this organization that has been working with street involved children for last 12 years. He stressed the importance of Child Protection Hub for South Eastern Europe and for all children in the region.
Regional Project Manager for South East Europe, Terres des Hommes, Judit Almasi, has presented results of the research conducted in eight countries participating in the project. Two basic objectives of all individual studies were mapping existing curriculum, training programs, training and information that actually constitute the framework in which social workers and other professionals are educated and work, while the second objective was to identify needs and opportunities for further professional development, learning, and capacity building to strengthen and improve the workforce and capacities of professionals in the field of child protection in the region. Key recommendations of the studies related primarily to improving the work conditions for social workers and other professionals, to revise existed curriculum and faculty practices, to support and develop supervision, promote exchange of knowledge and experiences among professionals.
In Serbia, the research ''Social Service Workforce Mapping in Serbia'' was conducted by Professor Dr. Nevenka Žegarac. The professor has presented information about the general context in which children live in Serbia, information about the existing literature, the analysis of existing curriculum and research and data that exist when it comes to the protection of children in Serbia. The main recommendations based on the research results are:
- building of a constructive organizational environment where staff prospers and children and families are well-served;
- improvement of workforce competences particularly in the field of evidence based and reflective child-centered practice;
- further development and improvement of accreditation, licensing and quality assurance systems, and use of existing available resources such as ChildHub Platform, which serves for the exchange of knowledge, experiences and achievements in the field of child protection.