NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CHILD PROTECTION REFORM IN AZERBAIJAN TO START IN BAKU
BAKU, October 20 – A two-day conference on child protection reform in Azerbaijan, organized jointly by the Government of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Azercell Telecom starts on October 21 in the Gulustan Palace, Baku.
The conference celebrating Year of the Child in the country and 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, will bring together governmental officials, MPs, non-governmental agencies, international and local experts on child protection, private sector and media to discuss up to date achievement and next steps in the field of child protection.
The conference to be opened by the First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Ms. Mehriban Aliyeva, will examine progress in national efforts on reforming child care system – addressing institutional roles, strategic planning, budgeting, monitoring mechanisms and developing an integrated approach to child protection. The event will present an opportunity to present the achieved progress in the child protection reform as well as to discuss the priorities for the reform in upcoming years..
Such issues as strengthening the central and local child protection systems, building the social work function, “gate keeping” and referral, increasing the range, availability and quality of family support services, the transformation of institutions and expansion of quality family-substitute services will be highlighted during the conference.
High-level officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister Elchin Afandiyev, the Vice-Speaker of the Azerbaijani parliament, Bahar Muradova, Minister of Education Misir Mardanov, the chairperson of the State Committee on Family, Woman and Child Problems, Hijran Huseynova, Minister of Labor and Social Protection Fizuli Alakbarov and Ombudsman Elmira Suleymanova will speak at the conference. UNICEF RO Child Protection Adviser, international experts from UK, Italy and Moldova will make presentations on regional and international perspective of the reform. Azercell Telecom will also speak on private sector partnerships for child rights using the example of the “Every Child Needs a Family” awareness raising campaign.
Second day of the conference will include a field visit to the boarding school for blind and visually impaired children, the psycho-neurological children center, as well as working group discussions aimed at developing a strategy for the upcoming years and the conference resolution.
The Government of Azerbaijan together with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNICEF and civil society partners has been working on addressing the issue of child protection for a number of years now. As part of these efforts the Presidential State Programme on Deinstitutionalisation and Alternative Care was adopted in 2006 – a policy document aimed at reintegration of children residing currently in various state institutions with biological or foster families and at creation of alternative care services to support the de-institutionalization process as well as prevent new unnecessary deprivation of a right to the family by placement of children in state care.