State protection from parental neglect and for minors without parents
You are under 18 and you live in a family where your parents neglect their responsibilities towards you, or your parents have died and you have no one to care for you? You should know that the law obliges parents to meet certain standards of care and can offer support and protection if they fail to do so. According to the Law on Family, children have the right to be raised by their family and a child is under parental responsibility until the age of 18. According to the law, parental responsibility incudes ensuring emotional, social and material welfare, looking after the child, preserving personal relations, and ensuring his/her best development. The Criminal Code of Kosovo (Article 250) also makes the abandonment or maltreatment of children a criminal offence. The Family Law states that parents who abuse the exercise of parental rights or seriously neglect the exercise of parental obligations are deprived of custody by the Center for Social Work. The Center can also take custody of children with no parental care. As such, in accordance with the Law on Family, you are entitled to custody, family shelter, residential shelter or adoption. Children over the age of 14 have the right to individually file complaints.
Anyone who has information on neglect or existence of minors without parents must alert the Center for Social Care on the situation of the minor. The latter is according to law obliged to initiate the procedure for the deprivation of parental custody with a competent court. In case of emergency it can take the child into custody without any court procedures, but only for a limited period.
Any neglect by the part of the Center for Social Care in providing services and protection to a child could be addressed to a competent court or the Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo.