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MoSVY releases two key publications: The Mapping of Residential Care Facilities, and the Action Plan for improving child care in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, 20 April 2017: The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) today launched a recently completed mapping (survey) of residential care facilities in Cambodia, with support from UNICEF. The event saw the participation of government officials and non-government stakeholders.

The report provides new data on the situation of institutionalization of children, and confirms that far more residential care institutions (RCIs) are operational in Cambodia than previously recorded by MoSVY. According to the findings, 16,579 children were found to be living in 406 residential care institutions spread across Cambodia, far more than what was known to MoSVY. Previously available data through MoSVY’s inspection process had recorded 254 institutions, with 11,171 children living in them.

The survey was conducted by MoSVY staff with support from UNICEF, USAID and the partners of the Partnership Programme for the Protection of Children (3PC) in all the provinces and municipalities of Cambodia by physically visiting each of the identified facilities. Findings show that the distribution of RCIs in Cambodia is uneven with 83 per cent of all RCIs and 87 per cent of the children living in RCIs found in nine of the 25 provinces. Phnom Penh and Siem Reap alone account for half of the total number of RCIs.

Many residential care institutions are out of the Ministry’s regulatory framework- 38 per cent of the institutions have never been inspected by MoSVY; 12 per cent not registered with any branch of government, and 21 per cent of the institutions do not have a Memorandum of Understanding with the government.

“The finding that many residential care institutions are out of the government’s regulatory framework raises significant concerns for the well-being of the children living in them. The government’s Policy on Alternative Care for Children (2006), the Minimum Standards on Alternative Care for Children (2008) and the recent Sub-Decree on the Management of Residential Care Institutions (2015) clearly state that family- and community-based care are the best options for the alternative care of children, that institutional care should be a last resort and a temporary solution, and that the primary role in protecting and caring for children lies with their family” said H.E. VONG SAUTH, Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation.

“We conducted this survey to build evidence of where different facilities are located and how many children live in them. MoSVY will now include them into annual inspection as well as reintegrate children who can be safely placed into family- and community-based care.” he added.

Decades of global scientific research have shown that living in residential care can harm a child’s social, physical, intellectual and emotional development with long-term impact on their adult life. Most of the RCIs were found to be providing long-term care, defined as more than six months, despite problems associated with keeping children in institutions for long periods of time.

“Having completed a nation-wide survey to identify operational residential care institutions in Cambodia, the Government is now equipped with better information and knowledge to implement the Action Plan for improving child care in Cambodia, with the target of safely returning 30 per cent of children in residential care to their families or other forms of family-based care.” said Debora Comini, UNICEF Representative to Cambodia.

The Action Plan was signed in October 2016 by the Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) to support the implementation of the Sub-Decree on the Management of Residential Care Institutions, a significant policy breakthrough that aims to regulate residential care in Cambodia, and the accompanying Statement of Commitment, both of which require MoSVY to undertake a number of critical actions to promote family and community-based care.

The purpose of the action plan is to improve child care by promoting family preservation, de-institutionalization and reintegration of children, and alternatives to institutional care. Specifically, the plan aims to reintegrate 30 per cent of children in residential care institutions (about 3500 children) in the five priority provinces (Battambang, Kandal, Phnom Penh, Preah Sihanouk and Siem Reap).

“MoSVY is committed to effectively implementing the Action Plan to safely return 30 per cent of children from residential care institutions to family- and community-based care by the end of 2018, while at the same time adhering to the principles of ‘the best interests of the child’, ‘do no harm’ and ‘equity’” added H.E. VONG SAUTH.

The Action Plan covers the guiding principles, key strategic actions, expected results by province, roles and responsibilities and critical success factors.

“We consider deinstitutionalization and reintegration of children from residential care institutions as a part of a structural shift towards a broader, long-term and sustainable reform of Cambodia’s care system for children. This action plan provides a roadmap to achieving this goal,” said Ms. Comini. “We urge development partners and other donors to support the promotion of family and community-based care for children currently living in residential care institutions, most of whom have at least one living parent. At the same time, we call on all those involved in the implementation of this plan to make sure the principle of do no harm is followed for each and every individual child.” she added.


The full report, fact-sheet and the action plan are available here: (These documents will also soon be available on MoSVY website)

The Sub-decree on the Management of Residential Care Institutions, Notification Form and MoSVY Commitment can be downloaded here:

For more information please contact:

  • Ros Sokha, Director of Child Welfare Department, MOSVY,
    Email:; Mobile: (+855) 11/10 618 111
  • Iman Morooka, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Cambodia,
    Email:; Mobile: (+855) 92 555 294
  • Bunly Meas, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Cambodia,
    Email:, Mobile: (+855) 12 733 909

Download the press release in Khmer and English



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