For Every Child, Family

The most important task of UNICEF in Kazakhstan is reducing the flow of children sent to boarding schools and ensuring high-quality family education for each child

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UNICEF/2018/Valera Kaliev

Challenges

More and more children in Kazakhstan are gaining access to health care, education, social support and other opportunities for development and self-realization. However, the child development requires not only material support - solely the family is able to give the child the true sense of need and care.

The peculiarity of the situation in Kazakhstan is that 82% of children in boarding schools have parents. At the same time 18,000 children with special needs and registered disabilities constitute more than 51% of the total number of children in boarding schools. That is why the programs for development of equal inclusive access of children and their families to the social infrastructure should play a significant role in working upon the reasons for the further inflow of children to boarding schools. 

The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan makes great efforts to ensure that every child grows up in a family. However, the number of pupils of boarding schools is still high. UNICEF sees as its task the support of these children - so that staying in a boarding school becomes an extreme measure and does not impede development and socialization. Only the family environment should become a place of growth and development for babies up to 3 years. The consequences of every day spent in a boarding school outside the family may be irreversible for the baby’s health and well-being.

Solution

Special attention is paid to the development of services in support of families, parenting skills programs, control over the flow of children to boarding schools and their modernization. UNICEF is implementing and unifying the system for monitoring the situation of children in boarding schools, analyzing the effectiveness of providing them with health care and education, and reducing their isolation from society. 

UNICEF is actively involved in the improvement of regulatory documents and standards, development of plans for transformation of state-run boarding schools, new targeted programs for the advanced training of child protection professionals, and development of alternative services for children in difficult life situations who end up in Juvenile Adaptation Centers, special educational institutions (special schools) or special-regime educational institutions. 

An important direction of modernization is also the development of social work, which is a relatively new profession in Kazakhstan, to accompany and support families in a difficult situation and to strengthen interdepartmental relations. 

Partnership with the Parliament, Commissioners for Human Rights and Children’s Rights, central and local executive bodies, NGOs, and business community will enable to update the system of child protection services at the local level to prevent complex social situations and sending children to boarding schools.