TBILISI, Georgia, 14 May 2019. The special report of the Public Defender published today assesses Georgia’s Child Care System and the situation of children living in family-type small group homes, foster care, children living in boarding schools under the authority of religious denominations and those reunited with their families. The special report was prepared with the support of UNICEF and the EU.
The report has revealed a number of challenges concerning the rights of children placed in state care. Violence against children, access to education, preparation of children for independent living, provision of proper psychological/rehabilitation services, lack of qualifications of people engaged in child care and the shortage of human and financial resources - have all remained a problem for years.
In addition, the report reveals that the separation of children from their biological families on child poverty grounds is not always prevented, as the social protection system is unable to offer effective child care and social protection programmes to families with children living in extreme poverty.
“Identification of child victims of violence, management of risky behavior and crisis situations, prevention of violence, timely responses and psycho-social assistance to children have remained a problem. The state lacks a systemic vision on how to overcome child poverty and strengthen the social function of families. Existing programmes are unable to address needs and therefore have a negative impact on a child’s rights. Gaps in the field of child care, insufficient numbers of relevant specialists like psychologists and social workers, as well as effective mechanisms to support them remain a problem”, stated Ms Nino Lomjaria, the Public Defender of Georgia.
“UNICEF has been actively cooperating with the Public Defender’s Office and supporting the strengthening of its child rights monitoring capacity for many years”, said Dr. Ghassan Khalil, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “The Public Defender’s special report presented today, revealed the challenges that children deprived of parental care are facing. In recent years important reforms like the introduction of child benefits for children living in extreme poverty, legislative initiatives on strengthening social work, protection of children from violence and on foster care have been carried out. However, the scarcity of family support services, quality of social work, lack of psycho-social rehabilitation for child victims of violence and support for children leaving state care remain a problem. UNICEF continues to partner with the state authorities as well as with the Public Defenders’ Office to ensure the full realization of the rights of children in Georgia.”
The special report includes specific recommendations which, if implemented, will improve the situation of children in state care.
It covered 43 small family-type homes, 128 foster families, 68 families engaged in the state reintegration subprogram and 7 boarding schools under the authority of religious denominations.
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.