Warm and Care for Abandoned Infants
Heating System installed in Tbilisi Infants House with the support
TBILISI. 26 March, 2007. A new heating system was installed in the Tbilisi Infant House with the support of UNICEF Georgia and the Government of Lithuania. In particular, the assistance envisaged the rehabilitation of the heating and hot water systems in the institution.
“UNICEF is closely working with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and the Tbilisi Infants’ House to improve the quality of services provided to its little residents.”-says Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “The installation of the heating and hot water systems in the Tbilisi Infants’ House is an important part of a larger plan aimed at rehabilitating the whole infrastructure of the institution and ensuring the minimum acceptable care for young children. We are extremely grateful to the Government of Lithuania for their considerable support and assistance.”
UNICEF conducted a needs assessment of the Tbilisi Infants’ House in 2006, which revealed that the physical environment is far from satisfactory. The Infants' House is composed of two independent two-story buildings with residential rooms, facilities for kitchen, laundry and storage. The heating system was outdated and not able to sustain the minimal required temperature for infants. According to this assessment, “children do not look clean enough, and usually have an unpleasant odor; they have either scalp problems and/or nits in their hair; most of them have runny noses.”
The Government optimization plan does not envisage the closure of the Infants’ Houses for the next five-ten years. Therefore, the improvement of the quality of services is crucial for the health and development of 115 infants living in the Tbilisi infants’ house.
The transformation of the Infants’ House is one of the main priorities of the Child Welfare System Reform launched by the Government of Georgia in 2002. The strategy for transformation of the Infants’ Houses in Tbilisi and Makhinjauri for the years of 2007-2010 envisages the introduction of alternative services to institutional care for vulnerable infants and families and the development of the community-based child welfare protection policies and services in Georgia. The strategy aims at transforming Tbilisi and Makjinjauri Infants’ Houses into multi-service centers designed to promote and facilitate family reintegration, alternatives to residential care and prevention of child abandonment.
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