UNICEF, Government Of Armenia Seal Memorandum on Child Protection System Reform in Lori Region
YEREVAN, 23 September – UNICEF, the Ministry of Labor and Social Issues and the Governor’s Office of Lori region signed today a Memorandum of Understanding, laying a foundation for the comprehensive reform of child protection system in the region.
“The existing child protection system relies heavily on a system of institutions, that instead of strengthening capacities of families to care for and protect their children, pulls children into residential care institutions, where they live isolated from the broader familial and social network that is essential for their healthy development,” Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative in Armenia stressed.
The Memorandum of Understanding acknowledges the commitment of the authorities of Lori region to take up a more holistic approach to services designed to protect the welfare of children. “The current child protection system is not designed to systematically identify, report and refer cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation of children to relevant authorities in the health, education and law enforcement sectors. Consequently, these violations go unreported and children are not systematically referred to appropriate services,” Yett said.
Reform of the child protection system in Armenia is one of the major strategic pillars of the ten-year National Plan of Action for the Protection of Child Rights adopted by the Government in 2003 and closely linked to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper.
“It’s a long-term process that centers on helping institutions to reach out and support the core role of families in the care and protection of children. It involves strengthening monitoring systems and the links between both national and local institutions,” UNICEF Representative noted, adding, “such reform is likely to take a number of years before being completed.”
The child protection system reform in Lori region started in 2004 with the introduction of the so-called “Human Rights Based Approach to Programming (HRBAP)”, an approach that involves not simply identifying needs, but a process of enabling and empowering those not enjoying their rights to healthcare, education and other social and economic rights, to claim them. The approach helps to assess and identify gaps and priority areas and draw up strategies to address them.
UNICEF trained twenty experts from national, regional and community level on the practical application of the HRBAP tools. With UNICEF support, these experts then conducted a situation analysis of children in Lori region. Based on the findings of the situation analysis, a “proposal for change” addressing gaps in the child protection system has been developed.
The implementation of this “proposal for change” will help to make services for children more comprehensive, consistent and targeted as well as will enable the development of mechanisms to prevent, identify and respond to cases of child rights violations at all levels.
For more information, please contact
Emil Sahakyan, Communication Officer, UNICEF Armenia
Tel.: (374 10) 52 35 46, 56 64 97
Fax.: (374 10) 54 38 10