Children’s rights should be monitored everywhere by the national relevant authorities, UNICEF says
TBILISI, Georgia. 21 May, 2021. All the remaining institutions with children should be monitored by national relevant authorities to make sure that children's rights are fully respected. UNICEF advocates for a family environment for children, based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Code of the Rights of the Child of Georgia.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that for the full and harmonious development of the child, he or she should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding. State Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, or due to poverty, except when competent authorities determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. The Code on the Rights of the Child mandates the State to take appropriate measures to prevent the abandonment or the separation of the child by his/her family and, if it is necessary to separate a child from the family, alternative care in any form shall be in conformity with the best interests of the child and with alternative childcare standards.
Where large residential care facilities remain, alternatives should be developed in the context of an overall deinstitutionalization strategy, with precise goals and objectives, which will allow for their progressive replacement with family and community care. UNICEF Georgia shares the understanding that the deinstitutionalization process serves the best interest of a child and is a means for achieving a better quality of life for a child. First and foremost, deinstitutionalization entails a significant shift from institutional to family and community-based care of the child.
Meanwhile, all relevant state authorities should be allowed to monitor the situation of children in all institutions to ensure their rights are protected.
UNICEF recommends the following to ensure a family environment for every child:
- The development of a national strategy and an action plan to ensure that residential institutions for children are gradually substituted by family and community-based care.
- The best interests of a child should be prioritized in all decisions taken by the Government or any other organization regarding the deinstitutionalization reform.
- In the meantime, national relevant authorities should be allowed to monitor and further support the wellbeing of children in all residential care facilities. Safety, well-being, and development of any child placed in alternative care should be thoroughly supervised and the regular review of the appropriateness of the care arrangement provided.
- Comprehensive understanding of push and pull factors for children’s institutionalization should be facilitated to inform the context specific long-term strategy and recommendations for introducing preventive and child and family support services.
- Community-based and family support services, as well as other social protection measures should be designed and introduced as required by the Code to support family strengthening, prevent the family separation and ensure further support for children leaving the institutional care, their families and professionals working with them.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/georgia/