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· CPIMS,FrontPage,Guest blogger

Government investment in the children of Timor Leste

The Ministry of Social Solidarity and Inclusion (MSSI) of Timor-Leste, in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), has launched Primero to help social service providers to coordinate critical support to vulnerable children. This launch coincided with the commemoration of ASEAN Social Service Work day, a day designated to raise awareness on social service workforce’s critical role in protecting the most vulnerable and marginalised individuals from violence, harm and abuse.

In front of a large crowd, her Excellency, Verónica dasDores, Minister of Social Solidarity and Inclusion, logged into the system to symbolise the first step in activating what will become the backbone of Timor-Leste’s nationwide child protection social service practice. The Minister also applauded the invaluable contribution being made by social workers across the country.

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Timely response to child protection issues

“Primero is yet another milestone achieved by the 9th Constitutional Government of Timor-Leste to strengthen the Child Protection System in any setting. From now on, I am confident that Child Protection Officers (CPOs) will be able to provide, timely, robust follow-up support. This digitised system has features which alert CPOs to act, by indicating the place where abuse has taken place, and also guide them on how to record information safely and in a confidential manner,” said the Minister Dores.

The introduction of Primero in Timor-Leste comes at a time when there are concerted efforts from the Government, Civil Society, communities, and the United Nations Agencies, to address incidences of violence, abuse and neglect of children and young people in the country. Primero has been contextualized to be used in all contexts, including during emergencies and for children in communities, homes as well as in residential care institutions.

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“Without solid and efficient case management and referral systems in the country, too many children who have faced violence and abuse, will continue to fall through the cracks. UNICEF therefore congratulates the Government of Timor-Leste for this milestone of digitizing case management to prevent and respond to episodes of violence, abuse and harmful practices,” said UNICEF Country Representative, Bilal Aurang Zeb Durrani.