Social and child protection
Social and child protection, to protect children from all forms of violence, ill-treatment, and socio-economic vulnerabilities.
UNICEF will support the Government of Turkmenistan to achieve the overall result that by 2025 children of Turkmenistan, particularly girls and boys in vulnerable families, residential care institutions and in contact with the law, are increasingly protected from all forms of violence, ill-treatment, and socio-economic vulnerabilities, benefiting from quality social and child protection services.
The social protection system in Turkmenistan consists of an extensive set of social policies and programmes (both cash and non-cash) that covers most citizens. Social protection schemes include universal birth grants, universal cash benefits for children under 3 years of age, and benefits for orphaned children and children with disabilities. It is important to identify ways to further strengthen the social protection system to ensure its effectiveness in times of the global pandemic and related economic crisis. In addition, it is essential to complement the existing cash-based assistance with inclusive community based social services and to reinforce collaboration among all sectors. The introduction and development of social work as a new professional field is therefore key to making this transition.
Child protection, and specifically justice for children, have been explicitly made a priority in the new country programme of cooperation for the period 2021-2025, thereby also supporting the implementation of the National Plan of Action for Realization of Child Rights for 2018-2022 which prioritizes effective measures to prevent abuse, discrimination and violence against children. Significant progress was made in the area of developing a child-rights based approach to handling children in conflict with the law which was reflected in the 2018 assessment of the Programme on the Development of the Juvenile Justice System for 2012–2016. As a result of this assessment, it has been recommended to further develop community-based services for diversion, rehabilitation, and reintegration as well as the expansion of the child-friendly justice concept to include child victims and witnesses of crime. The capacities of Commission on Minors and Guardianship and Trusteeship Bodies will be strengthened to cater to the broader child protection needs at national and subnational level, and additional partnerships will be explored to promote non-residential alternative care for children left without family environment.
UNICEF’s work with partners will focus on two main areas of intervention to contribute to achieving this result:
UNICEF will support the further development and expansion of social work and the establishment of linkages with the broader social-protection system, continuing the efforts started through the SDG Fund Joint Programme on Strengthening Community-based Social Services for 2020–2022.
- Advocating for the inclusion of the new social work cadre into the government system and budget and providing technical support to enable this process
- Integrating the social work profession in the higher education system and ensure further development and professional growth of the social service workforce
- Analysing the existing social protection instruments and supporting the development of a roadmap for social protection reform to strengthen its effectiveness in alleviating vulnerabilities of children and their families
- Nurturing cross-sectoral collaboration between the social protection, health and education authorities, at both the national and subnational levels, to support integrated social support services for children and their families
- Ensuring consistent multidisciplinary support to all children, transitioning to the “social” model of disability and reducing children’s placement into residential care institutions
- Strengthening emergency preparedness of social protection system to ensure its shock-responsiveness
UNICEF will support government partners in strengthening prevention and response mechanisms for addressing violence against children, as well as procedures and services for children in contact with the law.
- Providing support for the review and analysis of legislation related to children in contact with the law, and developing evidence-based recommendations to align it with international standards
- Supporting the development of training programs for justice and social work professionals in accordance with modern approaches and procedures
- Promoting alternative measures to detention such as diversion and restorative justice with a view to progressively ceasing deprivation of liberty of children in conflict with the law
- Establishing mechanisms and procedures to ensure child-friendly investigations along with setting up child-friendly interview rooms for the cases of child victims and witnesses of crime at the pre-trial stage
- Strengthening the roles of the Commission on Minors and Guardianship and Trusteeship bodies to reduce the referrals to residential care institutions and improve community-based support services
- Developing and strengthening behaviour change strategies to promote positive parenting and non-violent disciplining via multisectoral service providers and communication channels