A report on quality assessment of project research is now available on the Strenghten project website.

The report focuses on gathering information on the training needs of professionals working in the social services of municipalities directly responsible for the protection of children, as well as teachers and specialists directly involved in the implementation of the law. The study was carried out on the basis of previous Monitoring Reports (from 2019, 2018 and 2017) of the State Child Protection Agency investigating the application of the coordination mechanisms for intervention in the cases of children – victims of violence or at risk of violence and the interaction of the various units of the Child Protection system. Another source of information is the UNICEF (2019) Report – Analysis of child protection in Bulgaria.

The conclusions drawn in those reports are used for the development of a questionnaire for focus groups and interviews for professionals that are the basis of the assessment itself.

The second step in the course of the quality assessment is to hold 3 discussions in focus groups involving educational professionals (teachers/school principals), social officers and law enforcement officers to identify how the coordination mechanism for the protection of children works in practice. The total number of participants in focus groups is 54, of which 70% teachers, school administrators and school psychologists; 24% are social workers and other employees of the municipal social assistance units; 6% are local commissions for working with children in conflict with the law; and 2% - representatives of the regional refugee reception centre.

In-depth interviews were also conducted with 5 experts from the regional structures of the State Agency for Child Protection responsible for the implementation of the child protection policy at citizens' level and 7 experts from national level and 2 local NGOs working in this field.

The report summarises the training needs identified by quality research and recommendations to address gaps in the Child Protection System formulated by professionals.

The Report could be found on the following link in English language or on the site of the project.