On the occasion of the International Day for Protection of Children, Child Protection Network in Armenia (ACPN) participated in the press conference on May 31st 2016.
ACPN was represented by Mira Antonyan, the President of board and FAR’s Children’s Support Centre, Knarik Garanfilyan, member of the board and President of “Family and Community” NGO, Aida Muradyan, member of the board and head of child protection and education programs of World Vision in Armenia and Armen Bezhanyan, Projects Director of Children of Armenia Fund.
ACPN President Mira Antonyan stated that there are about 830.000 children in Armenia, half of whom live in deprivation. In 2015 about 200 children received services in FAR’s Children’s Support Center, while in 2016 there were 70 children receiving such support.
There is an increase in the number of parents with mental health problems who cannot take care of their children and thus children are placed in the Children’s Support Centre. Another issue relates to school dropout rates. More than 40% of the children placed with the Centre have been dropped out from school for 1 and more years. There are children at 14-15 age that have never attended school. Another issue relates to housing. 60% of 270 children’s families cannot afford housing expenses and rent, and they don’t have permanent place to live.
Aida Muradyan presented child poverty statistics. Child poverty is 37%, and extreme poverty is 3.3%. Poverty rates vary depending on the regions, thus in Aragatsotn it is 0.9%, and in Kotayk and Shirak regions average poverty rate is 50%.
Armen Bezhanyan noted that problems related to child’s rights can be viewed in two contexts. Child protection problems incorporate both the environment that impacts upbringing of a child; education, health, leisure, and on the other hand, problems of vulnerable children in difficult situations.
Knarik Garanfilyan stated that special attention should be paid towards the prevention activities in order to decrease the number of children in life difficult situations. The preventive activities should be directed not only towards children, but also to families. In the communities, there should be relevant services, social workers that will not only support with reintegration activities, but also with prevention.