We’re building a new UNICEF.org.
As we swap out old for new, pages will be in transition. Thanks for your patience – please keep coming back to see the improvements.

Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2018 Kazakhstan: Evaluation of the Justice for Children Reform in Kazakhstan

Author: Carole Berrih, Prof. Dr Bistra Netkova, Daniyar Kussainov, Dr François-Xavier du Perthuis de Laillevault

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System (GEROS)". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. The quality rating scale for evaluation reports is as follows: “Highly Satisfactory”, “Satisfactory”, “Fair” or “Unsatisfactory”. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 3’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 4’.


Since the adoption of the Concept of Juvenile Justice System Development in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2009-2011 (hereafter “the 2009-2011 Concept”), several reforms have been initiated by the Government of Kazakhstan and supported by UNICEF, stakeholders and donors, in the field of Justice for Children. The evaluated object relates to the reforms in the area of Justice for Children in Kazakhstan, implemented between 2009 – year of implementation of the Concept – and 2017. The evaluation object is not circumscribed in a specific action or program and is an ongoing process. New activities in this field are planned by Kazakhstani authorities and UNICEF.

The intended outcome of the reform was that, by the end of 2017, the Kazakhstani system of Justice for Children provides an improved and comprehensive justice system for children in conflict with the law and child victims and witnesses aligned with international standards, through the achievement of three related outputs:
- establishing specialized institutions and services in the area of justice for children
- advocating and providing technical assistance to the legal reform
- building capacity and raising awareness of national specialists.

This report is the summative and formative external evaluation of the reform. The evaluation purposes are to reflect on what has been achieved since the adoption of the 2009-2011 Concept, to assess whether the reforms had an impact on children in the justice system and which inputs contributed to the impact and supported the Government of Kazakhstan. The evaluation aims at analyzing the Justice for Children sector component. The report aims to serve as a source of information for the main developers and implementers of the Justice for Children programs at national and local levels to  guide future interventions and reform process, and for UNICEF for further programming and scaling up of the program nation-wide.


This evaluation objective is to assess the component’s performance and to draw up conclusions, recommendations on key components and lessons learned. The evaluation also seeks to identify, to the extent possible, the attribution of results of the Government and other stakeholders into advancement and development of the Justice for Children in the country. To that end, this evaluation uses the standard OECD-DAC criteria of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability, and takes into consideration UNEG’s standards and guidelines for evaluation. Equity, gender and human rights are analyzed as cross-cutting issues.


The evaluation team adopted mixed qualitative data collection and analysis methods in order to ensure data reliability and validity through triangulation: review of literature, semi-structured interviews, and observation of several courts, law enforcement offices, NGOs, Center for Adaptation of Minors, special schools and juvenile colony. The executive summary only presents key findings.

Findings and conclusions

In terms of relevance, the reform was rated as highly relevant considering the needs of children in conflict with the law and child victims and witnesses in criminal proceedings in the country. The reform was directly aligned with the national Justice reform agenda, that aims towards humanization of the criminal legal system. National authorities in charge of implementing the reform were fully involved in its design.

In terms of effectiveness, several key specialized institutions in the area of J4C have been strengthened or implemented since 2009 as a result of the reform process. Nonetheless, institutions could still be improved to ensure better protection to children in justice processes.

In terms of efficiency, human resources dedicated by the Government to the design of the reform were highly qualified and fully relevant, even though the level of training of professionals in charge of implementing the reform still needs to be improved. Cost-efficiency could not be assessed considering that the exact amount of funding of the reform is not known.

In terms of impact, there has been an important decrease in the number of child offenders, of children detained at pre-trial stage, of convicted children and of children detained at post-trial stage between 2009 and 2017. These positive evolutions mostly result from the reform.

In terms of sustainability, the Justice for Children reform process is owned by national authorities, although the level of ownership varies from one institution to the other.

In conclusion, this report shows that, between 2009 and 2017, the reform has successfully improved the Justice system for children in conflict with the law and child victims and witnesses and that this system is more compliant with international standards, although some important gaps remain.


Reintegration and social support to children in justice processes
- Ensure mandatory presence of psychologists and social workers in legal proceedings, using harmonized guidelines, by 2019;
- Introduce community-based services for children at risk and children in conflict with the law throughout the country, by 2021;
- Improve the protection, recovery and social reintegration for child victims, by 2028;

Strengthening of institutions and stakeholders involved with children in justice processes
- Develop an institutionalized and practice-oriented training plan for professionals in contact with children, by 2019;
- Continue the establishment and the strengthening of specialized institutions and stakeholders throughout the country, by 2025;
- Ensure that all cases involving children in conflict with the law are dealt with by SICIMs, by 2028;

Legislative and policy framework on Justice for Children
- Develop a comprehensive legislation on Justice for Children, fully compliant with international standards, by 2021;
- Develop a comprehensive inter-ministerial policy on Justice for Children, by 2021;

Situation of children in closed residential institutions
- Implement alternative solutions to the placement of children in closed residential special schools and TSANs, by 2021;
- Develop small-scale residential units for children who are detained in juvenile colony and ensure equity of treatment, by 2021;
- Increase reform efforts regarding pre-trial detention, by 2024;

- Implement a systematic and standardized approach towards data collection, including disaggregation, by 2028.

Lessons Learned

- Legislative amendments must be accompanied by the development of services to ensure their effectiveness and impact
- Without standardized guidelines for professionals in contact with children, all children do not benefit from the same  level of protection 
- The lack of accurate and disaggregated quantitative data is an obstacle to the in-depth analysis of program’s impact

Full report in PDF

PDF files require Acrobat Reader.



Report information

Year: 2018

Office/Country: Kazakhstan

Region: ECAR

Type: Evaluation

Theme: Child Protection; Juvenile justice

Language: English

Sequence #: 2018/002

New enhanced search