Children receive certain services when they occur in residential care institutions, yet no preventive mechanisms exist to support their families before that happens, assistant to the minister of labour and social issues Anna Safaryan stated at a discussion “Introduction of Integrated Social Services: Achievements and Challenges,” held in Yerevan on Saturday.
“There are NGOs that started the social service provision before the legal regulations were set by us. That is to say they acted as a support body to families, yet state procedures were to be established in order to involve the state in the sphere as well,” Safaryan said.
In her words, with enough numbers of service providers, the matter has been about right distribution with provinces lacking any services in one hand and in the other – with children receiving service from different providers at a same time. “The establishment of the social worker’s institute was major progress that gave new impetus to the ongoing works,” Safaryan added.
“Studies suggest that many children occur in residential care institutions purely for social reasons. Consequently, should their families had been provided with assistance earlier they would receive proper care in their families,” Safaryan said.
She pointed to an important achievement in the reform of child protection services such as the deinstitutionalization of residential care institutions which has led to the restructuring of 2 boarding schools into child care and support centers. In her words, the primary aim of reforms underway is the introduction of alternative care services, that would facilitate new mechanisms toward the process of deinstitutionalization.
Safaryan next spoke of the idea of small houses, an alternative family-based care services that provides nigh-care services to children in smaller spaces, ensuring a family environment.