September 2005, De-institutionalization of Children
This year, after long 75 years of trying to replace families for children, Uch-Korgon Children’s Institution has started a Project on returning children to family environment. Its aim is to help children in institutions to realize their right to grow in a family, help them to become full members of the society and learn to enjoy life and develop their potential.
The Project focuses on changing attitudes of adults in particular those who work in children’s institutions, local schools and local authorities towards a rocky stereotype that placing children in children’s institutions is the best and only way for families facing difficulties or children with special needs. They have to understand that the right of a child to live and grow in a family environment fixed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child is reasoned by the fact that family is the only environment that can create all necessary conditions for a child for his/her overall development.
Parents, potential caregivers and patronage families have to get through multistage preparations before taking a child home. The main concern of the Project staff is to prevent the re-placement of children to the institution after an unsuccessful attempt to return them to families or family like environment. All - children and adults – should be ready for a new life. Psychologists and social workers of the Project are at hand to help.
A similar project has been started this year in Voenno-antonovski Children’s Institution in Chui Oblast. It was upon the request of the Ministry of Education to UNICEF following the successful results of a project in Belovodski Children’s Institution. There, over three years, NGO “My Family”, the implementer of the project, helped 82 children come back to families, and none of them was returned. The project staff still visit newly established families and help them tackle emerging problems.
In Uch-Kurgon Children’s Institution now there are 89 children and all of them hope that one day their parents or those who can give them parental love and care will come over to take them home.