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Reform of the Child Care system underway

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, May 13
Andria Urushadze the Minister of Labour, Health and Social Protection and Roeland Monasch UNICEF Representative in Georgia shared the progress in reforming the Child Care system in Georgia at a press-conference on May 11. Giving brief information about the Governmental plan for developing the Child Care system in Georgia, Urushadze spoke of the necessity for offering small family-type homes to homeless children. UNICEF in partnership with Every Child, Save the Children, First Step and Children of Georgia with financial support from USAID encouraged the Georgian Government in their implementation of the new Child Care System Reform Plan of Action for 2011-2012.

The project stipulates the closure of large scale institutions and to strengthen the impact of social work. The Ministry of Health hopes that the children would feel very much at home within the caring atmosphere of small group homes, housing 8-10 children, which are due to be constructed. In Georgia there are still children living in large institutions and it is believed that it would be better for them to live in a family environment with loving care for their personal development and better chances for further promotion. 17 small group homes [out of 70] have already been opened in the frames of the reform while 50 new social workers have been recruited in partnership with NGOs Every Child and Save the Children who would go through comprehensive training.

Worrying that lots of children have become the victims of violence and could not return to their homes, Minister Urushadze stressed that the Georgian Government would do their best to prepare these children for independent lives with the relevant educational background for further employment. As the Minister told The Messenger the infrastructural changes will also be followed by re-qualification of the personnel working on this issue. “We plan to train hundreds of people so that they could work with individual children despite their health or mental conditions,” Urushadze stated.

Paata Burchuladze, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, welcomed the Governmental initiative. Encouraging the people to help more children in need Burchuladze hoped that these children would help others in future, otherwise they may become aggressors and damage their own lives. Worrying that more people have left the North Caucasus territory, Burchuladze asked the Minister to construct more homes in this territory. “Children would love a place where they grow thus the North Caucasus would become under their protection,” UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador stated.

Expressing the full support of the UNICEF to the Government’s plan Roeland Monasch spoke of the importance of a family environment in children’s development. Welcoming the responsibility of the Minister in initiating this very vulnerable agenda to the Government Monasch also expressed his gratitude towards Paata Burchuladze who has been a visionary in the whole issue of children. Talking of Iavnana Foundation as an example for all of us, the UNICEF Representative spoke of multilateral partnership as the key of this initiative. “I want to remind everyone that a family is the strongest institution in Georgia and we should acknowledge the important role of civil society in implementation of this excellent initiative,” he stated.