4.6 Access to quality services
The National Youth Strategy 2015-2025 (see Chapter 1/1.3 National Youth Strategy) recognizes that the services intended for young people from socially vulnerable categories are mainly organised through traditional institutions (schools, social work centres, branches of the National Employment Service, etc.). In addition, and even more in time, local services take over especially in the fields of education, health and social welfare.
When it comes to housing, the most common services recognized in the National Youth Strategy 2015-2025 are:
- the service of day-care for children and youth with disabilities,
- the service of day-care for children and youth with physical disabilities,
- the service of supported housing for youth independent living.
The listed services are financed by the local self-governments. However, the service of supported housing for persons with disabilities is financed by the state. This is not the case if the development of the local self-government is above the state average.
The service of supported housing for youth independent living is targeting young people unable to live independently. The purpose of the service is to help and support beneficiaries to gain complete independence and help their integration into the community. This service provides the beneficiary a chance to gain skills necessary for independent living. This service has a limited duration as it is expected that the beneficiary will be able, in time, to live independently, without any support. Duration of the service depends on the assessment whether a young person, with the appropriate preparation and support, can master life skills, take responsibility for future personal life, and live independently.
More information for all beneficiaries – youth, self-government, service providers, professionals working with youth and people with disadvantages, can be found in the Manual for Supported Living (Smernice za stanovanje uz podršku) developed by the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs.
Social protection services in Serbia, presented in the document “Mapping of Social Protection Services under the Competence of Local Self-Government Units in the Republic of Serbia” (“Mapiranje usluga socijalne zaštite u nadležnosti jedinica lokalnih samouprava u Republici Srbiji”) include:
- Day care community-based services including day care for children/youth with developmental and other disabilities, home care, child personal attendant and drop-in centre.
- Services for independent living including personal assistance for adult persons with disabilities, supportive housing for youth who start living independently and supportive housing for persons with disabilities. This group of services also includes training/ education programmes to facilitate clients’ transition to independence and enhancement of independent living skills. See previous paragraph Housing.
- Counselling/therapy and social/educational services including intensive support services for families in crises through counselling and support to parents, foster parents and adoptive parents, families caring for their children or adult members with developmental disabilities; fostering family relations and family reunification; counselling and support in cases of violence; family therapy and mediation; helplines; activation and other counselling and education activities.
- Emergency and temporary accommodation services including placement in a shelter (for various target groups), respite care and other similar types of accommodation.
Main youth target groups are youth leaving the social protection system and personal assistance, youth with developmental and other disabilities, as well as violence victims (including youth).
According to the National Youth Strategy 2015-2025, local services for youth are mostly present in the field of education, health and social welfare. The total number of local social services (at the time when the Strategy was being prepared) in 137 local self-governments was 351, while in 37 local communities in Serbia there were no local social services financed from the local self-government budget.
As for services for children and youth, the most common services are the ones related to housing (see previous paragraph Housing).
The pre-requisite for the sustainability of social services is that they are institutionalized - that there is a local government’s decision on their financing.
Youth policy, i.e. the National Youth Strategy, stresses the need to develop non-institutional services to provide youth from socially vulnerable groups basic competences on how to use the existing (traditional) system of support.
However, specific integrated social services designed to address multiple underlying issues of young people at risk of social exclusion simultaneously do not exist.
An overview of health services for youth in Serbia can be found in the Youth Health Development Strategy (Strategija razvoja zdravlja mladih u Republici Srbiji).
Health care for children of school age and young people who do not belong to a group of students is realized through the work of:
- pediatric services, general health care services, occupational medicine and gynecology, polyvalent health care services;
- youth counseling services within the health care centers;
- mental health dispensers.
For the student population in universities and colleges, primary health care is well organized and developed in Belgrade, Nis and Novi Sad. It is realized through the services of health promotion, general medicine, gynecology, mental health. For students in Kragujevac, health care is provided in the health centers.
At the secondary and tertiary levels, the health service is not particularly adapted for youth, and especially to the youth population aged 19-26 years.
For the age range 10-19, health services are provided in children's departments in general hospitals, children's clinics and institutes for children and youth, and in some specialized institutions.
Young people above 19 years of age, except in exceptional cases, are treated and hospitalized together with adult patients at specialized departments of general hospitals, clinics and institutes. However, students from the University of Belgrade have a specially provided health care in Institute for Students Health of Belgrade University.
The professional development for health care mediators and the support for development of a national health mediators’ network are not established on the top-level in Serbia.
The Law on Financial Support for Families with Children (Zakon o finansijskoj podršci porodici sa decom) secures the right to the child allowance. Target groups are the persons that do not own immovable assets on the territory of the Republic of Serbia nor have income from agriculture.
Additionally, the City of Belgrade has established permanent financial support to young people leaving the social protection system. This was established by the Decision on the rights and services of social protection of the City of Belgrade (Odluka o pravima i uslugama socijalne zaštite Grada Beograda). The right to this financial support is provided to children without parental care, users of accommodation services who are capable to work, in a monthly amount of 50% of the salary. The financial support can be received from the date of the termination of the accommodation service until the establishment of the employment, for a maximum of one year, provided that they, at least two years before the completion of their education, have lived on the territory of the City of Belgrade.
Additionally, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development annually provides scholarships for high-school students and students of public universities. Also, the Ministry provides student loans for students that were under the threshold for scholarship.
Furthermore, the Fund for Young Talents (Fond za mlade talente) supports the best students of final years of university/high-school with scholarships.
There is no particular and comprehensive quality assurance system to monitor the quality of these services.