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New USAID/UNICEF initiative to provide safe, supported family environment for vulnerable children

© UNICEF/Geo - 2010/Pirozzi
A Child in the Children’s Institution in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. This institution is one of the many throughout the country for children from vulnerable families or without parents.

TBILISI, Georgia - 20 September, 2010. The United States Agency for International development (USAID) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have established a new partnership to protect vulnerable children in Georgia. The three-year $6.8 million initiative will focus on strengthening services and systems for the large number of vulnerable children in Georgia. USAID will contribute $5.4 million and UNICEF $1.4 million to an effort that will span the country if Georgia, with particular focus on regions with high numbers of internally displaced and minority populations.

The initiative will improve access to social benefits for vulnerable children - including targeted social assistance, free health insurance, and social services. It will also imrpove the alternatives to large institutions for orphaned children and expand community-based family support services. Furthermore, the initiative will expand foster care and availability of small group homes, and emphasize the inclusion of children with disabilities.

© UNICEF/Geo - 2010/Pirozzi
Eviko Khokhobashvili, 7, in Children’s Institution in Telavi, Georgia, January 2010.

Strengthening policy, oversight, and accountability in the child care system will also be a critical part of the three-year initiative. The Government of Georgia will be a key partner. Georgian and international organizations such as First Step Foundation, Children of Georgia, Save the Children, and EveryChild, will also play a critical role.

:This project will help ensure that vulnerable children in Georgia can live and grow in a strong family environment," said USAID Mission Director Jonathan Conly. "This stability will give them the opportunity to share in and contribute to a peaceful and prosperous future".

"We hope that thanks to the partnership up to 2000 children will find a safe family and the number of vulnerable children and families who are receiving financial support and social services will be dounbled," said Roeland Monasch, UNICEF Representative in Georgia.

For more information, please contact:

Maya Kurtsikidze
Communication Officer
UNICEF Georgia
Tel: +995 32 - 23 23 88 (ext 264)

Maka Japaridze
Development Outreach and Communications Officer
Tel: +995 32 544 168



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