Child Care System Reform: Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine Consultation 2009
Русский | English
Welcome to this site, which draws together a wealth of materials developed for the regional conference “Child Care System Reform – Commitment, Partnership, Action”, which took place 24-26 November 2009 in Chisinau, Moldova. For three days, more than 120 delegates, including official senior delegations from the governments of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, participants from the NGO-sector, World Bank, EU, SIDA, USAID, DFID etc. and independent experts from CEE/CIS shared their best experiences and knowledge, discussed remaining challenges in the ongoing reforms, and jointly agreed on a few priority steps, with timelines, to take reforms at country level one step forward.
The conference represented a paradigm shift in the approach to child care system reform. Today, CEE/CIS is a vibrant region and the countries that participated in this conference are nothing less. Realizing that a “de-institutionalization agenda” is not enough, every country has started undertaking comprehensive reforms in social protection systems and child care services to better respond to new family vulnerabilities. The conference built on this experience but also outlined some of the emerging reform areas, which will have to be core pillars of the next phase of reforms.
Diversifying social services and transforming, scaling down and closing residential care institutions is the priority of the reform which was discussed in several of the sessions of the conference. The focus has to be placed on strengthening the family, and overcoming the vulnerability of families which has been increasing during the transition years. The economic crisis that started to unfold in 2008 is not making this task any easier. The conference took up the challenge of accelerating the reform, and scaling up support to families, as part of countries’ responses to the economic crisis.
A big shift in the approach to the reform was reflected in the sessions that articulated the importance of strengthening the reform within ongoing decentralization efforts; and that discussed new ways of financing services as part of the overall reform strategy to reallocate budgetary resources for a better balance of community based services, as compared to residential care. New approaches to create cost estimates for services, and forecasting needs for services in the new system to inform budget discussions were discussed both in breakout sessions and in plenary. Through these sessions, we are hoping that countries have gained new knowledge and inspiration to address upfront what are some of the most common stumbling blocks among reforming countries in CEE/CIS.
The conference also stressed the importance of strengthening statutory functions of gatekeeping, of accelerating the creation of- and expanding the availability of family based substitute care services for children without parental care, and the overall importance of moving from scattered pilot reform projects, to a nationally planned, monitored and managed reform process. In this context, “the importance of strengthening the social dialogue and in using existing residential care services as a resource, rather than a threat to reform cannot be underestimated” stressed Dr. Vesna Bosnjak, UNICEF’s international expert on child care reform in CEE/CIS.
While the Government of Moldova hosted this meeting and UNICEF provided the technical support to its organization, it would not have been possible without the financial support of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), and the success would not have been guaranteed without the technical inputs of many organizations, individuals and experts who took part of in the preparatory process and the conference itself.
(for Russian language documents please use the Russian version of this website)