A ministerial conference on 21-22 November 2012 in Sofia, Bulgaria
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GENEVA, 29 January 2013 - Twenty governments from Eastern Europe and Central Asia have joined forces to boost the growing movement to support vulnerable familes, and to end placing children under three in institutions.
The two-day ministerial conference, held on 21 and 22 November 2012 in Sofia, Bulgaria, and attended by 250 delegates from 24 countries, took place under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev in collaboration with UNICEF. Its aim was to share experiences and promote mutual learning so governments can create and implement policies giving stronger support to families and putting in place appropirate responses for ending the placement of children below three years deprived of parental care in residential care. The landmark conference brought the the region closer than ever before to the vision that every child below three years old grows up in nurturing family environment because all children need to get the best possible start in life.
Twenty governments made a public statement regarding their current and future efforts to achieve results in the reduction of the number of infants being abandoned at birth, in the reduction of the number of children below three years deprived of parental care placed in institutional care; and in the increase in the number of children with disabilities maintained with their family.
Bulgaria, which has embarked one of the most ambitious plans for child care reform in Eastern Europe, proved to be a strong partner of UNICEF, mobilizing this region-wide action on child care reform.
Key priority actions have been identified by these governments:
UNICEF renewed its commitment to these efforts, in particular by supporting knowledge building on these issues to allow governments to make informed decisions, to provide state-of-the-art technical expertise and to faciliate exchange of promising practices among governments.
For the media
Launch of the Call to Action in 2011