Enhancing social inclusion and justice for children
Although the number of children in large-scale state institutions was reduced from 4,100 (2005) to 80 (2017), concerns remain regarding the continued use of these institutions for children with disabilities. In addition, there are still 38 unregulated institutions with residential components for 924 children and managed by various non-governmental organizations, local governments, as well as faith-based groups including the Georgian Orthodox Church and the Muslim Community. In addition, the support provided to vulnerable families is limited with only a few (though growing number) of day care, early intervention and rehabilitation services available across the country. Furthermore, the number of social workers is insufficient. Social workers have a very high workload but insufficient resources to reach out to beneficiaries and to provide individualized, timely and adequate support to children and families in need.
Children in Georgia often experience violence on the streets, at home or in school. Almost half of the population in Georgia considers the use of physical violence against children as acceptable social norm.
The majority of Georgians believe that harsh parenting is a more effective method for child discipline than non-violent parenting methods. Even many child protection professionals (teachers, resource officers and social workers) think that a family’s internal affairs are its own business and should not be interfered with by others.
We work with the Government and other partners to end use of institutional care and strengthen capacities of the child care and other related systems to better prevent and respond to cases of violence against, and abuse and neglect of children.This work includes support to improving child assessment, referral and cooperation between all relevant institutions, access to quality social services, increase awareness on violence and its consequences, and change social norms that support it.
We also work to strengthen vulnerable families in their childcare role and to ensure their access to child-friendly social services.
We promote a child’s right to afamily environmentand work to ensure that children living in residential state institutions (including children with disabilities) are unified with their biological family or placed in alternative family care.
We also assist in the development of family support and alternative care services.