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On Monday 18th of February World Vision Georgia holdan opening ceremony of the EU funded project “Reinforcing the Child Welfare and Protection System in Georgia” . The three year initiative aims to reinforce the child welfare reform in Georgia and ensure provision of quality alternative care for children. The project brings together the expertise, best practices and aspirations of World Vision (WV) and the Government of Georgia (GoG), in addressing the needs of vulnerable children deprived of parental care, or at risk of being so, by ensuring appropriate and quality alternative care.
“My pleasure to launch this new three year project supporting child welfare reform in Georgia, which will be implemented by World Vision and the Government's Social Service Agency, with support from key stakeholders. It builds on almost 20 years of EU support to this area, in which time we have seen significant modernisation of child welfare, for example the closing of almost all state run large scale residential institutions. This project follows up on this reform, with a focus on ensuring vulnerable children deprived of parental care receive appropriate and quality alternative care. To obtain an effective and strong child-oriented system that can provide immediate and adequate responses to children in need all across the country, will only be possible if all key state and non-state actors, experts and professionals are involved. In this context, I very much welcome the interest displayed on the side of the Georgian Orthodox Church to actively participate in his project." said Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia.
Within the currently on-going child welfare and deinstitutionalization reform in Georgia, between the years 2009-2013, the GoG has successfully closed down almost all state-run large scale residential institutions A comparatively increased number of the established family-style small group homes and foster care families opened the doors for thousands of vulnerable children to alternative care services, the lack of family support services and the absence of prevention mechanisms in place as well as an unbalanced approach towards different groups of children remain as the main challenges of the ongoing reform.
Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs David Sergeenko addressed the invited guests, thanked the European Union and World Vision for launching significant project, and expressed the hope that the initiative will be a step forward towards improving conditions for vulnerable children in Georgia.
"World Vision Georgia understands the great responsibility that implies the implementation of the project with high quality. This is one of the first large scale initiatives that requires the unification of the will and effort of the government, non-governmental sector and the Georgian Patriarchy to improve the quality and welfare of the most vulnerable children and families. This project will open doors to all stakeholders for cooperation in improving the child welfare policies and practices in the country, "said Eka Zhvania, director of World Vision Georgia.