Strengthening child welfare through services and systems development

The efforts of child protection services and the advocacy program unit are driven to empower the most vulnerable children and their families through direct service provision and to drive sustainable advocacy efforts for improving policies and practices with respect to prevention, protection and rehabilitation. Community driven and national level child welfare initiatives are implemented through the World Vision Child Protection and Advocacy (CP&A) model that entails establishing interagency child protection groups to strengthen the initiatives in 4 basic components of the child protection system: 1) Building community awareness and consciousness;2) Strengthening the referral system;3) Empowering vulnerable families with children;4) Increasing children’s resilience. The essence of the CP&A model lies in multi-agency collaboration and mutual resource allocation to achieve sustainable results for vulnerable children and their families. CP&A groups have been established in the Kakheti, Samtskhe-Javakheti and Imereti Area Development Programs (ADPs). Direct service provision for children living and working in the streets is administered through 3 mobile teams and 3 daycare/crisis intervention centres in Tbilisi and Kutaisi. The centres and mobile teams are co-funded by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Affairs. In 2015, the overall number of beneficiaries receiving services through World Vision Georgia (WVG) centers and mobile teams via various interventions stood at 460. The interventions implemented included health care, crisis intervention, citizenship registration, psycho-social support, distribution of hygiene products, formal and non-formal education activities, and recreational services. WVG maintains a strong position in the field of child welfare through its active work on policy and development of the range of Family Support Services in Tbilisi and regions with regard to Child Prevention and Reintegration from State Care. WVG runs a daycare center in Tbilisi for 25 infants and toddlers from vulnerable families. The service is unique in that it offers extended working hours and allows single parents to keep their jobs. The strong collaboration of the Family Support Services component with Tbilisi City Mayor’s Office is demonstrated by programmatic funding from Tbilisi Municipality to cover the operational costs of the daycare center. In addition, Family Support Services offer employment counseling, crisis intervention and emergency support, health and nutrition counseling, psycho-social support, reintegration support in Tbilisi and in the WVG ADPs (Kakheti, Imereti, Samtskhe-Javakheti). In 2015, WVG piloted the Child Protection Index (CPI), a comparative policy tool that measures a country’s current child protection system against a common set of indicators. The Index uses specific child protection articles from the UNCRC and principles from a systematic approach to child protection. The CPI scoring is a strong advocacy tool to measure a country’s child protection index in comparison with the other countries in the region. In 2015, WVG was elected as a board chair of the National Coalition on Child and Youth Welfare, a network of 54 organizations focused on collective advocacy initiatives and technical expertise provision in the field of child welfare.