Every child has the right to grow up in a caring family environment
From the training for social workers and psychologists at CSLAMs from 14 regions of Uzbekistan
(Name of child changed to protect identity)
A couple from Termez left for another country, leaving children behind with their grandmother. The children soon began to miss the parents. The money sent by their parents was sufficient only to pay for their basic needs. The grandmother could not manage meeting some needs of her 15-year-old granddaughter. Mukhlisa made friends who were much older. They offered her to live with them and earn some money. She started missing school and soon left her home. Once, the friends decided to go to Tashkent and took Mukhlisa as well. At a check point, a police officer stopped their car. He felt something was wrong when he saw an underage girl in inappropriate company.
Mukhlisa was sent to the Centre of Social and Legal Aid to Minors (CSLAM) at the Department of Internal Affairs of Surkhandarya region. The Centre supports adolescents in difficult life situations to reintegrate them back into families and communities. The Centre assesses the situation and the children’s needs, making conclusions whether a young person should return to their family or should be placed in a Republican educational correctional institution (closed institution). The Centre is also a temporary accommodation for adolescents where they stay for 45 days before their cases are passed to the inter-agency commission on minors and further to the court.
There was a risk that Mukhlisa would be sent to a closed institution. Fortunately, the Centre’s psychologist had just completed two trainings for managers, psychologists and social workers at CSLAMs from 14 regions of the country. It was organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs with support of UNICEF. Participants of the trainings were provided with the skills on social work for prevention of crime and neglect, also for protection of children affected by migration.
“In order to help Mukhlisa, I decided to apply my new knowledge” says Mohida Juraeva, psychologist of CSLAM of Surkhandarya province. “Having assessed the girl’s situation, we met with her relatives and helped the grandmother to submit documents for getting pension. We also agreed with the regional branch of the Youth Union to take responsibility of Mukhlisa. We called her parents living abroad and convinced the mother to come back and stay with her children. Now the girl lives at home and attends school. And this is not the only case. The trainings equipped us with effective tools to help children.”
One of the main goals of the project is to ensure the child’s right to grow up in a family and in a nurturing environment.
Another training for social workers and psychologists at CSLAMs from 14 regions of Uzbekistan was held on 27 - 29 November this year. Like two previous ones, it was carried out within the framework of the project “Protection of children affected by migration” (2018-2020). The project is financed by the European Union and is jointly implemented by the Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan and UNICEF.
One of the main goals of the project is to ensure the child’s right to grow up in a family and in a nurturing environment. According to international standards, placement of a child in a specialized closed institution should be a measure of last resort. To achieve this goal, CSLAM should be staffed by competent and highly skilled social workers and psychologists. They will help conducting a proper assessment of child’s situation and take appropriate measures in the best interests of each child.
“Thanks to the training, I realized that a new way of working with children is needed to help them in difficult life situations,” says Bakhrom Saidov, Head of CSLAM of the Department Internal Affairs, Bukhara region. “Back at home I will share the new knowledge with my colleagues.”
Like Bakhrom Saidov, participants from all 14 regions of the country learned international practices of social and legal support for adolescents. They developed recommendations on how to prevent unnecessary placement of children in closed institutions.