RILSA and Referral pathways to support refugees from Ukraine

RILSA and Referral pathways to support refugees from Ukraine

08. 03. 2024

The Research Institute of Labour and Social Affairs (RILSA) in cooperation with UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) has prepared a toolkit for organizations helping to address the dozens of difficult life situations of war refugees from Ukraine, especially women and children. The aim of the system innovation is to improve cooperation between different organisations in areas such as housing, education and mental health support.                    

Through UNICEF support, a unique tool was created at the end of 2023: Pathways to Help. It is a methodological outline for the creation of referral pathways, a tool for developing multidisciplinary cooperation between aid providers. This tool is well known in the world, but it is only now being introduced in the social workforce professions in the Czech Republic. Referral pathways have been piloted in one of the community support centers for refugees in Prague, through which social workers provided wide range of counselling to war refugees and in dozens of cases also provide long-term accompaniment and coordination of assistance across different areas of life.

„Effective support and protection of vulnerable persons requires inter-agency cooperation and coordination. The new tool, Pathways to Help, has been designed to make it easier for professionals from different sectors – like social work, health care, and education – to work together to support vulnerable Ukrainian children and their families. By ensuring that case workers share information quickly and work closer with other professionals, the tool allows for more effective and efficient support to be provided, leading to better results for children.” says Rita Neves, the head of Child protection section at Refugee Response Office in the Czech Republic.

“The system of care and assistance in the Czech Republic has historically been fragmented and uncoordinated, which has made it all the more necessary for the new sources of assistance to war refugees from Ukraine that have been established in the last year and a half to learn how to cooperate and create conditions for addressing the situations of people with often complex assistance needs. After the covid-19 wave, the refugee wave is another crisis that once again challenges the aid system to seek new forms of cooperation, create new partnerships and help better. After the first wave of solidarity, the time is now ripe to deliver more systemic solutions, and referral pathways or formalised aid routes are one of the proven tools to achieve this. I am glad that RILSA was able to be there for perhaps the first such effort to create lasting forms of inter-organisational cooperation in the social sphere in the Czech Republic,” says its director Robin Maialeh on behalf of RILSA.

The methodological outline of Pathways to Help is one of the outputs of the multi-year project RILSA Framework Issues for Strengthening the Integration of Social Assistance and Care Systems, especially for People with Complex Needs (Integrated Care Studio).