en-GBes-ESfr-FRru-RUit-ITzh-CNde-AT
Moving Forward: Implementing the 'Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children'

De-institutionalisation strategy, Georgia

Focus 3: Strategies for de-institutionalising the care system 

The Government of Georgia has led a major child protection reform process in recent years, using the entry point of ending the use of institutional care to strengthen the overall child protection system. As institutions have closed, funds have been diverted to: increase the number of state statutory social workers; increase the foster care allowance; introduce emergency short-term foster care for infants; and strengthen prevention services, such as day care.

A new gatekeeping policy – so far just for State-run facilities – is being rolled out across the country to try and ensure children come into the care system only for valid reasons.

At the same time, the number of trained state social workers has steadily expanded, from just 18 in 1999 to over 160 in 2009 and with 250 in place by 2012. A remaining challenge, however, is that delivery of social services currently targets only children in difficulty rather than foreseeing a family-wide approach, thus limiting the possibility of intervening with parents in a preventive manner to avoid the need for recourse to alternative care.

The results of the reform have nonetheless been significant. The number of children living in all forms of large state run institutional care decreased from nearly 2,500 to under 250 between 2008 and 2012. Approximately 33% of all children from institutions have been reunited with their families.

In 2010, the Government re-doubled its efforts to support reunification by introducing a two year package of $50 per month per child to enable families to take their children back, health insurance for the child, free school textbooks, and day care. Foster care has also expanded and strengthened. For those children who could not be reunified with family, the number of small group homes was increased from 15 to 45 in just two years, housing approximately 400 children.

For more information visit: http://www.unicef.org/georgia/OPM_report_edited.pdf

International Social Service, Oak Foundation, SOS Children's Villages International, unicef, ATD Fourth World, Better Care Network, Family for every child, ngo group for the crc, PEPFAR, RELAF, Save the Children, USAID