29 March 2017. Tbilisi. A new Specialized Family-Type Service for Children with Severe Disabilities has been established in Kutaisi by the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs with the support of USAID and UNICEF. U.S. Ambassador Ian Kelly, Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs David Sergeenko, USAID Mission Director Douglas Ball and UNICEF Representative in Georgia Laila Omar Gad visited Kutaisi to open the new service.
The Specialized Family-Type Service is the first unit in Georgia with the community-based care for young children with severe and profound disabilities and health problems.
In this Service, children transferred from large state-run institutions receive a 24-hour nursing care, physical rehabilitation, and community integration services.
The Specialized Family-Type Service for Children with Severe Disabilities is established with the support of USAID’s $1million 5-year Protection of Children with Disabilities project, implemented by UNICEF since 2015. The goal of the project is to ensure that infants and young children grow in a family environment and receive services necessary for their individual developmental needs. A local NGO Breath Foundation donated building for the Service in Kutaisi and will manage it with the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affair’s funding and regulations.
Within the framework of the USAID supported project UNICEF has been assisting the Government in rehabilitating and equipping the building, developing standards of care, training of professionals like nurses and social workers who will work with children and linking the service with health care clinics and Social Service Agency in Kutaisi.
The establishment of such services will allow the Government of Georgia to expand the alternative services for children with disabilities to gradually replace the model of institutional care for these children. Opening of another specialized service in Tbilisi is planned at the end of 2017. Several more similar services need to be established to have the children with disabilities remaining in large institutions transferred to a family-type environment.
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.