Pilot phase of child protection system to start in September

Muscat: The Sultanate is working on a joint plan with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to launch the pilot phase of the ‘Multi-sectoral common system’ for children during the first semester of the academic year 2019/2020.

The system seeks to provide guidance that is compatible with ministries of social development, health, and education to create more coordinated and streamlined care for the children.

Khalfan bin Harib al Jabri, Director General of Administrative and Financial Affairs at Ministry of Social Development and Chairman of the steering committee of the joint national program between the Sultanate and UNICEF, said that data analysis in 2013 and 2017 showed that some outcome for children were not fulfilled due to gaps in inter-sectoral coordination at the level of service delivery that require effective referral process between health, education and other social services.

“To address this, the Sultanate and UNICEF have developed a multi-sectoral, cross-sectoral system for coordination, cooperation and referral process among relevant sectors, where case management is designed from a common perspective between child protection, disability and early childhood development”, he said.

It is expected that the pilot phase of this system will be implemented in a number of schools in Boushar and Nizwa during the period from September to December in the current year.

The standard operating procedures of the system aim at providing the basis for effective referral processes to reach all children — particularly the most vulnerable, persons with disabilities or under the age of five.

The system underwent several stages before the launching of the pilot application. Many meetings were held, and the social workers from the three sectors were trained in practical ways to use the system tool.  Besides, a multi-sectoral working meet was held for all three sectors, along with representatives from Public Prosecution and the Royal Oman Police.

The system will provide a comprehensive approach and lead to improving satisfaction of beneficiaries, improving the quality, accessibility and efficiency of services, and achieving greater beneficiary participation in decisions and solutions.