Child Protection

Child Protection

 

Child Protection

© UNICEF/Armenia 2007/Igor Dashevskiy

Issue

There are over 900 children placed in 8 state orphanages, although the majority of these children have at least one parent.

More than half of the 10,000 children enrolled in 52 special schools providing free education, food and boarding are from socially vulnerable families.

After leaving these institutions many of these children are at risk of being trafficked.

Recent studies conducted in the country revealed the problem of domestic and institutional violence against children (mainly psychological and physical). Majority of service and care providers working with children do not have or do not use professional guidelines and code of conducts.

In the most socially disadvantaged communities, parents are often unable to register their children at birth and continue to rely on public care institutions as their primary social safety net.

Most kindergartens and schools are still unable to provide services to over 8,000 children registered as disabled in Armenia, and the majority of them remain excluded from special and mainstream education. Many children with disabilities are identified late and the early intervention services are not available at community level.

The newly established child protection units functioning at provincial level have limited capacities and poor data collection, monitoring and planning skills.

There are credible reports from local NGOs on the existence of child labour in Armenia and in 2007 UNICEF is planning to conduct an in-depth study into the child labour issue to obtain information on the magnitude of the problem, its forms and causes.

Action                                                                                                                                                                                                          

  • UNICEF supports the Government of Armenia to implement the National Plan of Action on Children adopted in 2003 and the child welfare reforms.

  • We also advocate for policies and strategies directed at prevention, early identification and follow- up to child abuse and neglect cases and childhood disability.

  • UNICEF promotes the establishment of community centres for reintegration of children with disabilities, children at-risk and children in conflict with law. Those centres are considered as an effective alternative to placement of children in residential care institutions and are being replicated throughout the country.

  • We disseminate information to parents and children and train teachers, police, social workers, nurses and doctors for them to be able to prevent and respond to cases of violence against children.

  • Together with other partners we build the capacity of child protection bodies functioning at national, provincial and community levels.

  • UNICEF actively supports reforms in the Juvenile Justice Administration, advocating for community alternatives to imprisonment such as probation and community restorative justice.

  • UNICEF addresses the problem of birth registration through co-ordinating activities of all responsible governmental structures and training of civic registration bodies.

    Impact
    • The Government of Armenia adopted the National Plan of Action for Protection of Children’s Rights which became an integral part of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper.
    • Through UNICEF advocacy efforts the country signed CRC Optional Protocols on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, the Hague Convention, as well as acceded to the ILO 182nd Convention relating to child labour.
    • The Criminal Code of Armenia was amended to include counts on trafficking, violence and neglect against children as well as on juvenile justice.
    • With the support of UNICEF 8 community centres were established in provinces of Armenia to help re-integrate children with disabilities, children at-risk and children in conflict with law into the society. The Government of Armenia has already included funding for six community centres into its state budget for 2008 and will also fund the establishment of similar centres in all provinces of Armenia by 2010.
    • UNICEF supports the Government to include provisions on foster care in the new Family Code and to establish a model of foster care as an alternative to placement of children in residential care institutions. Starting from 2008 the Government of Armenia will take responsibility for funding and expanding foster care programme in the country.
    • Over 500 members of the police and judiciary, as well as NGOs and care providers in residential institutions gained better knowledge of children's rights and their own responsibilities in this regard.
    • State strategy on early prevention and identification of childhood disability was developed and the guidelines are already used by health care professionals in two provinces of the country.
    • The implementation of the Leave No Child Out Campaign (LNCO), Phase II resulted in establishment of a Public Forum that includes 50 decision-makers and representatives from NGOs and establishment of a network of qualified trainers on child rights.
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