Protection and care of children
© UNICEF Cambodia/Nicolas Axelrod
There are hundreds of thousands of orphans and vulnerable children are living in Cambodia, with up to 20,000 of them living or working on the streets of Phnom Penh. Some of these children are victims of forced labour and trafficking while others suffer from violence or abuse or are living with disabilities. Others – an estimated 85,921 children – are vulnerable due to HIV. In 2010, approximately 11,945 children lived in residential care – the last stop for children whose families have been devastated by poverty or whose parents have died.
For orphans and vulnerable children, HIV and AIDS can significantly change their lives. Almost 2 per cent of Cambodia’s children have lost their parents to an AIDS-related illness or are living in an AIDS-affected household. Many more children are left in vulnerable situations due to HIV.
Limited financial resources and even fewer social safety nets exist to support orphans and vulnerable children, including children affected by HIV and AIDS. Inadequate oversight at orphanages combined with an alternative care policy that lacks proper implementation has left many vulnerable children without proper care and with little hope to improve their lives.
UNICEF works with the government to ensure these children have the necessary support to reverse the affects and impact of HIV and AIDS and to help children realize their rights to a safe, supportive environment in which to grow up.
What we do
- Support the government to develop a routine monitoring and evaluation system to monitor, analyse and report on the scope and type of basic essential services delivered to orphans, children affected by HIV and AIDS and other vulnerable children.
- Work with the government and civil society, including Buddhist monks, to expand and support the provision of quality care and support to supplement the household’s ability to care for vulnerable children.
- Promote access of vulnerable children and their caregivers to essential services, including social protection programmes.
- Assist the government to provide vulnerable children in need of alternative care, including children affected by HIV and AIDS, with access to safe, appropriate alternative care options.
- Support the government to improve coordination, linkages and referral among social, health, education and communitybased services at the local level, in line with local governance reform and the national social protection strategy.
National and provincial government and non-government partners with religious stakeholders implemented a largescale care and support programme for people living with HIV and their children. In 2010 alone, nearly 5,000 adults living with HIV and 3,358 children affected by HIV received spiritual, material and cash support from Buddhist monks in half of the nation’s provinces. More communities are starting to take the initiative in caring for children impacted by HIV and AIDS, as 70 per cent of the nation’s communes had at least one organization that provided HIV and AIDS-related care and support to families with orphans and vulnerable children.