The Armenian Child Protection Network’s primary objective is to improve the protection and well-being of children. On the 28th of September World Vision International, ChildPact and 9 child-focused national coalitions launched the Child Protection Index (CPI) in Brussels.
The CPI results in Armenia show growth in governance and law and policy actions to protect children. Armenia is also increasing its social work presence at the local level. More work is needed to improve the services and the capacity to implement those services effectively.
Armenia has focused its efforts on the vulnerability of children separated from their parents, less so on actions to prevent violence and exploitation. Increasingly, Armenia is responding to children with disability through new policy efforts. These policies require a stronger focus on implementation.
The Armenian Child Protection Network will continue to advocate for the following issues:
- Too many children are still institutionalized in large residential care facilities. This is a serious matter of concern as institutionalization had proven to be extremely damaging for children, especially the very young ones. Efforts towards closing down all large residential care institutions have to be enhanced across the region, starting with a full ban on placements of children ages 0-3 in residential care.
- New services are needed to create community-based alternatives to residential care facilities. Foster care, kinship care and the prevention of child/parent separation are key initiatives in need of further action.
- Stronger financial investment in services and staff is needed to make successful pilots into national features. Armenia will be able to make stronger investments when budgetary analysis aligns with data on, (i) the proportion of overall budget and expenditure devoted to children, (ii) disparities between regions or particular groups of children, and (iii) the most disadvantaged groups of children. Review should be conducted with disaggregated data to determine if and how Armenia’s budget allocations reach the most disadvantaged groups of children and whether such funding is aligned with UNCRC commitments.
- It is essential to create adequate services and mechanisms for the identification and reporting of situations of abuse that are accessible and friendly to girls and boys. Without accessible and known spaces of identification and reporting, Armenia cannot guarantee that children who are in situations of abuse will seek help. Further, local and regional social work professions, including Guardian and Trusteeship Committees (GTCs) and regional child protection units do not yet have the legal or regulatory basis to actively identify and report cases of violence. They only have a mandate to intervene and manage cases of violence once they have been reported. A wider approach is necessary to identify and report abuse.
- Armenia’s recent reforms to introduce different levels of social work and case management demand a new emphasis on coordination mechanisms and training for staff. With new reforms, there is a need to conduct trainings for staff and to provide guidance on day to day procedures and issues so that responsibility is assigned and the network of staff and services know their roles and how to cooperate effectively.