On the 28th of September, in Brussels, in the presence of EU stakeholders, CSO representatives and child rights experts – we have lunched the Child Protection Index (CPI) together with our reliable partners throughout this journey: World Vision International and the child-focused national coalitions involved in the piloting of the Index.
The Child Protection Index is a new instrument created jointly by World Vision and ChildPact, aiming to measure a country’s current child protection system against a common set of indicators. The Index uses specific child protection articles from the UNCRC and the principles from a systems approach to child protection as the common foundation. The results from each country illustrate the government’s actions towards child protection through the lens of policy, service delivery, capacity, accountability and coordination. Thus, the Child Protection Index does not measure the well-being of children directly, but it focuses on government policy, investment, and services. The Child Protection Index has been piloted in 9 countries through the work of more than 70 experts involved in data collection and analysis, the use of more than 600 indicators, and the issue of more than 100 policy recommendations.
The Index was launched in cooperation with the European Economic and Social Committee, in their premises. The discussions were opened by Adelina Toncean (Advisor to the Minister, Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and Elderly, Romania) who stated: “We are all here because we have something in common: we all want to be partners for the wellbeing of children. We are all here to understand how we can do more together and to continue a commitment. We need to learn good practices from each other, among the states in the region. The CPI is an instrument that will help us do this.”
After the screening of a short explanatory video who set the scene for further discussions around the results of the Child Protection Index, Conny Lennenberg (Regional Leader, Middle East/Eastern Europe Regional Office, World Vision International) explained how in all the nine countries where the Index was piloted, the work quality of social workers faced several systemic difficulties: “Even when countries have carefully defined caseloads, hours of operation, resources and needed social work expertise, few countries meet these quality standards in practice. In countries that lack defined quality standards for case management and other social work tasks, child protection efforts are often hampered by inconsistent resources and insufficient assigned staffing.” “The CPI provides data and analysis that cannot be ignored. The Index provides the tangible check-lists for next steps” she added.
Mariana Ianachevici (President of ChildPact; President of the Moldavian Alliance of Active NGOs in the field of Child & Family Welfare) talked about another common result of the Index for all the implementation countries – the lack of accountability: “Accountability mechanisms allow citizens and beneficiaries to address complaints to their governments about public sector services, decisions and systems. Accountability is often an afterthought in the building of services; when so much effort is needed to start and operationalise the services themselves, citizen complaints might seem like unwarranted criticism. However, outlets to seek citizen and beneficiary feedback and complaints will not only make services more responsive in the long run, but also help to avoid possible abuse and corruption within government systems. Child protection actions must also protect children inside of the child protection system itself.” She argued that “Even if you don’t care about children, the Index is the kind of tool we need as civil society to monitor government efforts, limit corruption, and stand for greater accountability.”
Boris Iarochevitch (Head of Division for Eastern Partnership, Regional cooperation and OSCE – European External Action Service) was the first EU official to give his positive input regarding the Child Protection Index: “It’s important that the CPI encourages regional cooperation and exchanges among countries. The robust implementation of the UNCRC is essential in this context. It’s a way to put pressure on the authorities and to warn them when they depart from the trajectory on child protection. For us it’s a challenge to demonstrate to the citizens that what we do matters to people, and brings tangible results. The CPI is a concrete example, that in a specific area, we can have results. We need to communicate this in the countries and in the EU.” ”We will use this tool to measure the welfare of children and its benefits for the citizens” he added.
Hellen Gonnord (Human Rights Strategy and Policy Implementation, European External Action Service) also welcomed the results of the Child Protection Index and the importance of the tool stating that “I want to point out today that there are many opportunities where to use the CPI in our work”. Verena Knaus (Senior Policy Advisor, UNICEF), Samantha Chaitkin (Representative for EU External Affairs, SOS Children’s Villages) and Jana Hainsworth (Secretary General, Eurochild) also brought their contribution to the panel discussions, discussing how the Child Protection Index could help ending violence against children.
Finally, Jocelyn Penner Hall (Policy Director, World Vision Middle East and Eastern Europe) talked about the possibility of a second round of implementations of the Child Protection Index under a so-called CPI 2.0 that would be an online platform for “CSOs to talk to the governments in the same voice, and have a coordinated message.” She added that: “We rely on EU, on donors to start having those messages – to have the same voice like us.”
The Child Protection Index in now available at www.childprotectionindex.org.