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Georgian government approves plan to reform children's services


Georgian government approves plan to reform
children's services

EveryChild in Georgia, leading the EU Supported Child Welfare Reform Project, has successfully persuaded the Georgian government to adopt an ambitious action plan

designed to reduce the number of children in institutional care.

There are nearly 3000 children living in institutions in Georgia which is less than in some other former Soviet republics. However, worryingly referrals for placements in residential

care are increasing at an alarming rate of 10% per year. Sadly children with disabilities

are still routinely discriminated against and are much more at risk of being separated

from families who feel unable to cope. A quarter of children in institutions in Georgia

are there because they are disabled. 

Just as in many other former Soviet republics, 9 out of 10 children in institutions are not orphans. Family breakdown due to poverty is a major problem in Georgia.  In a country

that severely lacks family support services and trained social workers, many parents reach the stage where they feel unable to care for their child and believe that placing them in

an institution is the only option left to them.

The Children’s Action Plan (CAP)

, formerly adopted by the Georgian government last December, aims to improve family support services, develop better child protection

systems and significantly reduce the number of children entering large institutions.  

It has been a tough year for EveryChild’s Georgia team following the conflict and chaos

last summer caused by Russia’s military occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The office was forced to close temporarily and staff worked around the clock to help deliver emergency support services to children forced away from their homes and families by

the conflict. However, despite this, work continued on the proposed reforms in partnership

with UN agencies and government agencies. 

Andro Dadiani, Director of EveryChild Georgia, said:“Christmas came early for Georgia’s institutionalised children this year with the Georgian government approving these vital plans for
child welfare reform. The government should be applauded; however there is still so much to be
done to ensure that all Georgian children, including those with disabilities and from the poorest families, have the chance to grow up in loving families.”
2009 Jan 13