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					                           ORPHANAGE REPORT, UNICEF ARMENIA

Introduction

Human rights and human development are the biggest values of our time and the respect to those starts
with the attitude of the society toward children. The society should have a caring attitude toward
children, strive to ensure their freedom and dignity by creating conditions enabling them to fully
realize their abilities and lay the foundations of the opportunity for fruitful life in adulthood.

The importance of this issue for the future of the nation as well as the necessity to realize duties
assumed by international agreements require that the state implement a policy that is geared to the
interests of the child because the ability to satisfy the basic needs of the child is the most profitable
long-term investment for the society and the state.

For all this to become reality we need to unite our efforts.

During the last ten years issues of children, their welfare and rights have been in the focus of the
attention of our independent state that has started the process of reforms. In these issues the state has
supported the UN, in particular, UNICEF, which provides the most effective mechanisms for child
protection worldwide.

This report presents the results of the survey conducted in the scope of the subproject entitled De-
institutionalisation of Children of the Children in Institutions project implemented in the scope of
2002-2003 plans adopted jointly by the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues and UNICEF. The
survey was dedicated to the analysis of the situation of children in orphanages under the supervision of
the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues (MLSI), organization of their care, education and
rehabilitation services.

Project goals

The project De-institutionalisation of Children was implemented in the scope of 2002-2003 plans
adopted jointly by the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues and UNICEF.

The goals of the project were to create a database on children in orphanages and develop proposals for
feasible mechanisms of de-institutionalisation of children based on the results of the survey.

The project was implemented in two stages.

The first stage, Situation Analysis of Children in Orphanages, was implemented in 2002. The goal of
the first stage was to clarify the status of children in 8 orphanages under the supervision of MLSI and
to create a database of these children based on data collected.

The second stage of the project, Situation Analysis of Families of Children in Orphanages, was
implemented in 2003. The goal of this stage was to clarify the status of the families of children in
orphanages, reasons for children ending up in orphanages and the selection of families that could
possibly receive their children back from institutions given relevant support from the state.

Project implementation agencies

The project was implemented by MLSI with support from UNICEF. The staff of the ministry, the
National Institute of Labour and Social Studies and the team of Armenian Democratic Forum NGO
were involved in the project. Support for the implementation of the study was provided by the State
Police, specialists of municipalities and village authorities as well as orphanages.

Situation analysis
All children irrespective of the colour of their skin or ethnic background, are the gifts of nature and are
equal human beings. From the moment of birth they acquire equal rights and freedoms. The
international community has adopted this fundamental concept and ratified it in the Convention on the
Rights of the Child. It has been adopted by the United Nations Organisation on 20 November
1989.The convention aims not only to promote and introduce the ideas of public responsibility for
ensuring equal rights and safe childhood for the children of the world in the context of various
civilisations but also ratifies the civil rights and freedoms of children (rights of name and citizenship,
freedom of opinion, consciousness and belief, right to privacy, right to special protection, education,
leisure and cultural activities, health services and social security, etc). In essence, the convention is a
list of duties, which the states are ready to assume to ensure the protection of the rights and freedoms
of the child. It also creates a unified international legal framework for ensuring conditions for the
health, upbringing and education for children.

Armenian families have always viewed children as having tremendous value and motherhood and
childhood have been protected by the society. And it is not surprising that during the first years of
independence, in 1992, the country joined the Convention on the Rights of the Child proving its
commitment to prioritise children’s issues and engage them in national programs.

Certainly joining the CRC does not automatically create conditions for safe childhood. The possibility
to solve issues related to children are dependent on the resources of the state as well as attitudes,
traditions of the society and state policy.

State policy for children in our country has deep roots and long history. In the recent years legislative
and executive authorities have implemented very important measures. For the first time, the country
has formed policy principles that are geared to the interests of the child in accordance with the main
principles of the social state.

The adoption of CRC in 1996 was followed by the adoption of the Law on the Rights of the Child,
which not only defines the right of the child to enjoy basic human rights but also emphasises the right
to human dignity, which is obtained by each person along with freedom.

In 1999 the parliament of the country adopted the Law on Education, which defines the basic
principles of state education policy and legal, management and financial foundations of the education
system.

2001 was declared Child Protection Year in CIS countries. On 21.06.2001 the government of Armenia
adopted decree N 558 on Declaring 2001 Child Protection Year and developing a national plan for the
protection of the rights of the child. Based on this decree, an inter-agency committee was created
which was chaired by the Minister of Social Security. The committee has developed and on 18
December 2003 presented to the government (decree N 17-N) the National Plan of Action for the
Protection of the Rights of the Child for 2004-2015. The NPA is a comprehensive document, which
covers policies related to children in all areas. This is a mechanism, which will enable the realisation
of duties toward children, development and implementation of target programs through state bodies
and NGOs.

The society now shares the view that children deprived of parental care for whatever reason constitute
the most vulnerable social group and that they should be under special protection and care of the state.
In order to ensure appropriate living conditions for these children, the state has adopted a variety of
legal acts, amended legislation related to these issues, developed and implemented target programs in
various fields and regions.

In accordance with Article 24 of the Law on the Rights of the Child: „The child deprived of parental
care has the right to protection, care, upbringing and support from state and its relevant bodies. These
bodies ensure the care and education of these children through adoption or guardianship and
placement in foster families and, when that is impossible, placement in relevant orphanages.„

In order to regulate the procedures for adoption, guardianship and fostering, the following decrees
were adopted:
     Decree N 65 dated 12.02.2000 on Approving the Procedures for Adoption of the Child
     Decree N 111 dated 13.03.2000 on Approving the Charters of Fostering and Guardianship
Bodies
     Decree of the Prime Minister N 370 dated 20.06.2000 on Approving the Charter and
Composition of the Republican Adoption Committee and Sample Charters of Marz Committees
     Decree N 1936-N dated 24.12.2003 on Approving the Amendments and Additions to the
decree of the government dated 12.02.2000 on Approving the Procedures for Adoption.

According to the decree of the Prime Minister N 413 dated 03.07.2000, MLSI implements the central
registration of children to be adopted as well as that of adoption candidates and adoptive parents.
Below we present information about the central registration of children to be adopted as well as that of
adoption candidates and adoptive parents for the period of 2000-2003.

        Chart 1. September 1 – December 31, 2000

                                                                      7 By a f oreigner

                                                                      6 By a citizen of RA
                             1
                                                                      5 Has been adopted

              1
                                                                      4 Child to be adopted

                                                                      3 Foreigner

                                                                      2 Citizen of RA

                                                                      1 Candidate f or adoption
                  0   10     20   30    40   50   60    70   80




        Chart 2. 2001

                                                                   7 By a f oreigner
                                                                   6 By a citizen of RA

                                                                   5 Has been adopted
                                                                   4 Child to be adopted
          1                                                        3 Foreigner
                                                                   2 Citizen of RA

                                                                   1 Candidate f or adoption


              0            100         200        300        400


        Chart 3. 2002
                                                                    7 By a f oreigner

                                                                    6 By a citizen of RA

                                                                    5 Has been adopted

            1                                                       4 Child to be adopted

                                                                    3 Foreigner

                                                                    2 Citizen of RA

                                                                    1 Candidate f or adoption

                 0       100        200        300        400



        Chart 4. 2003

                                                                     7 By a f oreigner

                                                                     6 By a citizen of RA

                                                                     5 Has been adopted

             1                                                       4 Child to be adopted

                                                                     3 Foreigner

                                                                     2 Citizen of RA

                                                                     1 Candidate f or adoption

                 0       100        200        300        400


In order to ensure the protection of the rights of children deprived of parental care the National
Assembly has adopted the Law on Social Protection of Children Deprived of Parental Care on 24
September 2002. To ensure the realisation of the law, government decree N 983-N dated 23.07.2003
on Approving the Procedures for Provision of Housing to Children Deprived of Parental Care and
decree N 983-N dated 23.07.2003 on Approving the Procedures for Registration of Children Deprived
of Parental Care by Fostering and Guardianship Bodies were adopted. The implementation of these
decrees is ensured by MLSI, which presently implements central registration of children deprived of
parental care for provision of housing.
Part of children deprived of parental care - 1150 children are under full state provision and are placed
in orphanages. This means that we need reforms in this area as well.

What is the situation here?

The first orphanages were founded in Armenia in 1920 after the Genocide when many children lost
their parents.

During Soviet times care for children vulnerable to social risks was provided by the state. These issues
would receive „centralised“ solutions. Children deprived of parental care or facing risks for their
physical or mental health and growth in their biological families, would end up in special institutions,
orphanages.

Soviet orphanages would ensure the physical safety of the child. Care was taken also for the health and
education. But the child in the orphanage would end up losing links with the society and environment,
„natural habitat“, where the socialisation of the child takes place, as a rule. Visits of family and
relatives, trips, collective visits to cultural institutions were not able to fill the gap created by the
absence of the live, natural environment.

Along with orphanages, which are the heritage of Soviet times, we have newly established ones.
Presently we have 8 state and 5 private orphanages.

Recent years have shown an increase in the number of children in orphanages as well. Along with
children deprived of parental care, orphanages now serve home to children having parents, which have
refused to provide care and upbringing for the children as well as protect their rights.

What are the reasons for this?

Since 1988 our country has faced a difficult stage in its history. In a very short period of time we
experienced events and processes which had a deep imprint in the history , development and state of
the society and the nation: natural and social disasters as well as war and blockade resulting in
unprecedented economic distress. More than half of the population of the country was living below
poverty threshold. More vulnerable groups of population were facing extreme difficulties. These were
the elderly, the disabled and, of course, the children.

Today a considerable part of children in Armenia face social isolation, health and social-psychological
risks.

Below we present the dynamics of children in state orphanages in 1998-2002.

Table 1.

                                        Children          Total number
       Name of institution
                                        aged
                                                          1998      1999      2000      2001      2002
 1     Children’s Home, Yerevan         0--5              65        65        80        81        80
 2     Vanadzor Orphanage               0--18             61        77        93        100       107
 3     Gavar Orphanage                  5--18             120       117       127       130       120
       Children’s Home, Gyumri
 4
       (specialized)                    0--5              70        73        81        89        95
       Specialized Orphanage of
 5
       Nor Kharberd                     5--18             197       190       194       199       216
 6     Zatik Orphanage, Yerevan         3--18             118       117       118       128       133
       Specialised      Orphanage,
 7     Yerevan                          0--6                        45        66        64        63
 8     Huys Orphanage, Gyumri           0--18                                 67        53        61

       Total                                              631       684       856       884       875



        Chart 5. Dynamics of children in 8 state orphanages of Armenia
           1000
                                                                                 875
            900                                     826            844
            800
                                     684
            700        631
            600
            500
            400
            300
            200
            100
              0
                      1998           1999          2000           2001           2002


        Chart 6. Dynamics of children in 2 state specialised orphanages of Armenia

           1000
                                                                                 875
            900                                     826            844
            800
                                     684
            700        631
            600
            500
            400
            300
            200
            100
              0
                      1998           1999          2000           2001           2002




Data presented shows growth of 38,6% in the number of children in orphanages as compared to 1998,
in general-type orphanages it was 33,4 and in specialized orphanages - 16,4%. This growth is
attributed to the cumulative impact of deepening poverty, high prices for medications and health
services, lack of parental skills, absence of care and services for children. The growth in the number of
children in orphanages is accompanied by growth in the weight of social orphans.


Unfortunately after being accepted in an institution children tend to stay there before adolescence.
Children in orphanages never manage to get rid of the feelings of isolation and low self-esteem. Thus
the orphanage was an institution that brought about social isolation and continues to have that role.

A way to combat this undesirable situation is to organize provision of health, education and
upbringing of vulnerable children as close as possible to the natural conditions and environment. That
environment is the family.

Taking into account the above-mentioned, MLSI jointly with UNCEF has implemented the project
De-institutionalisation of Children in the scope of plans adopted for the period 2002-2003.
First stage: Situation analysis of children in orphanages

Goals

In 2002 MLSI has implemented the Situation Analysis of Children in Orphaned, which aimed to
clarify the status of children in 8 state orphanages under the supervision of the ministry. In order to
develop the questionnaires for the study a working group has been created by the decree of the
minister. 2 questionnaires were developed – one for general and one for specialised orphanages where
an attempt was made to clarify the following:
     Data on children (date, place of birth, gender, nationality, religion, family status, etc.)
     Data on health of children
     The person who has brought the child to the orphanage
     Data on the family of the child
     Where was the child living before coming to the orphanage
     Links with the family
     Visits by family members
     Property of the child or the family
     Can the child be considered for adoption
     Preferences and psychological traits of the child.

After the approval of the questionnaires a group of interviewers composed of 7 members was selected
of which 6 were from MLSI and 1 – a specialist from National Institute of Labour and Social Studies.
After interviewers’ training the group started to implement the survey in June-December 2002 and had
875 interviews with children in 8 orphanages. A questionnaire was filled for each child and the
sources of data were:
     Personal data of the child
     Medical certificates
     Notes of teachers, doctors, psychologists and educators
     Discussions with directors and deputy directors.
        Below we present the results of the survey implemented in 8 orphanages.

Yerevan Child’s Home SNCO
Address: 119 A. Armenakyan st., Yerevan

The Child’s Home of Yerevan has been founded in 1937 and has been transferred under the
supervision of the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues in 1998.

The goal of the orphanage is the protection of the rights and interests of the child, psychosocial care,
provision of rehabilitation services, food, clothes and other necessary accessories, care and upbringing,
health and education and transfer to other care institutions for children below the age of 6 living in the
orphanage.

At present the orphanage is for 80 children (113 staff), which are divided into 7 groups according to
age and psychomotor development degree.

The survey in Yerevan Children’s Home was implemented during 25-29 June, 2002. During that
period there were 80 children in the institution, of which:
by gender - 42 girls and 38 boys,
by age groups – aged 0-3 – 61 children - 35 girls and 26 boys, aged 3-6 - 19 children - 7 girls and 12
boys,
          Table 2.
                                           0-3                               3-6
                               Total      Male Female        Total           Male Female
                                 61        26    35            19             12    7

          by nationality - 74 Armenians, 2 Ezidi, 1 Assyrian and 3 of unknown nationality,
          by religion 79 Christians, 1 of unknown religion
          by place of birth

          Chart 7.



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 by family status – 11 children have both parents, 0 have divorced parents, 6 do not have one parent, 0
 do not have both parents, 54 have single mothers, 9 – parents unknown, 2 have parents in detention, 0
 have parents who have been deprived of parental rights.


          Table 3.

With                                                            With
          With divorced With             one With    no Parents                                   Parents     in
two                                                             single
          family        parent               parents    unknown                                   detention
parents                                                         mother

  11                 0               6                  0            9              54                   2

 by health status – 71 are healthy, 9 are not healthy
 by the person who brought them to the orphanage – 5 - parents, 40 - mothers, 6 - fathers, 11 –police, 6
 - relatives, 5 – maternity hospital, 2 – local authorities, 1 - Children’s’ Reception and Orientation
 Centre, 5 - others,
 by main reasons for ending up in the orphanage – 8 – left by parents, 19 – left by the mother, 0 – left
 by the father, 0 – do not have a mother, 18 – deprived of parental care, 0 – violence against the child,
 44 – social insecurity of the family, 0 – beggary and vagrancy, 6 – health status of the parents, 14 –
 absence of housing, 1 – alcohol addiction of parents, 32 – other.
         41 children maintain links with the family.

         From discussions with the team of the orphanage it was clear that in order to ensure the ethical,
         emotional and social development of children regular classes, including singing, dancing, drawing
         have been organised for the children of the orphanage.

         Gavar Orphanage SNCO
         Address – Gavar, August 23 st. N106

         Gavar orphanage was established in 1936 and has been transferred under the supervision of the
         Ministry of Labour and Social Issues in 1998.

         The goal of the orphanage is the protection of the rights and interests of the child, psychosocial care,
         provision of rehabilitation services, food, clothes and other necessary accessories, care and upbringing,
         health and education and organisation of the future life of the children by giving them for adoption or
         fostering according to procedures stipulated by the legislation of RA for children between 3 - 18 living
         in the orphanage.

         At present the orphanage is for 120 children (89 staff), which are divided into 6 groups according to
         age and psychomotor development degree.

         Survey in Gavar Orphanage has been implemented during 1-9 August, 2002. During that period there
         were 120 children in the institution of which
         by gender - 58 girls and 62 boys,
         by age groups – aged 3-6 – 2 children - 2 girls and 3 boys, aged 6-10 23 children - 10 girls and 13
         boys, aged 10-15 – 42 children - 15 girls and 18 boys, aged 15-18 – 33 children - 15 girls and 18 boys,
         above 18 – 17 children – 9 girls and 8 boys.
                   Table 4.


         3-6                       6-10                     10-15                    15-18                     18 and up
Total   Male Female       Total      M       F      Total     M       F     Total      M         F     Total        M      F
  5       3    2            23        13     10       42        20    22      33         18      15      17          8      9

         by nationality 115 Armenians, 2 Ezidi, 3 Russians,
         by religion 120 Christians
         by family status – 60 children have both parents, 25 have divorced parents, 16 do not have one parent,
         10 do not have both parents, 32 have single mothers, 1 – parents unknown, 32 have parents in
         detention, 0 have parents who have been deprived of parental rights.
                   Table 5.

                   With                                             Parents         With
          With two                         With      one With    no                              Parents        in
                   divorced                                         unknow          single
          parents                          parent        parents                                 detention
                   family                                           n               mother

              60              25               16                10         1           32              32

         by health status – 117 are healthy, 3 are not healthy
by the person who brought them to the orphanage – 8 - parents, 53 - mothers, 11 - fathers, 7 –police,
14 - relatives, 0 - maternity, 81 – local authorities, 8 - Children’s’ Reception and Orientation Centre, 4
- others,
by main reasons for ending up in the orphanage – 6 – left by the parents, 30 – left by the mother, 16 –
left by the fathers, 10 – do not have both parents, 74 – deprived of parental care, 2 – violence against
the child, 12 – have been transferred from another orphanage, 90 – social insecurity of the family, 10 –
beggary and vagrancy, 21 – health status of the parents, 12 – absence of housing conditions, 1 –
alcohol addiction of parents, parents in detention – 31, 72 – other.
by place of birth

        Chart 8.

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92 children maintain links with the families.
Children of the orphanage study in schools N 4, 5 and 6 of Gavar. Some of the children graduating the
school are now in the teachers and medical collages of Gavar, one girl is studying in Gavar Branch of
State University, Department of Foreign Languages. She is a first year student.
There are florists’, carpet making, tailors, singing and dancing classes in the orphanage and a carpet-
making workshop where children learn to weave carpets - 11 sq. m yearly.

Vanadzor Orphanage SNCO
Address: Taron – 2, N QSH-4, Vanadzor

Vanadzor orphanage was established in 1997 in the system of the Ministry of Labour and Social
Issues.

The goal of the orphanage is the protection of the rights and interests of the child, psychosocial care,
provision of rehabilitation services, food, clothes and other necessary accessories, care and upbringing,
health and education for children below the age of 18 living in the orphanage.

At present the orphanage is for 105 children (73 staff), which are divided into 7 groups according to
age and psychomotor development degree.

The survey in Vanadzor Orphanage was implemented during 14-19 August, 2002. During that period
there were 107 children in the institution of which
by gender - 53 girls and 54 boys,
          by age groups – aged 0-3 – 6 children – 2 girls and 4 boys, aged 3-6 – 6 children - 3 girls and 3 boys,
          aged 6-10 26 children - 15 girls and 11 boys, aged 10-15 – 50 children - 21 girls and 29 boys, aged 15-
          18 – 17 children - 11 girls and 6 boys, above 18 – 2 children – 1 girl and 1 boy.


                  Table 6.
             0-3              3-6                             6-10                   10-15                                  15-18
 Total      Male Female Total   M               F       Total   M        F     Total   M                    F     Total     M       F
 6          4    2      6       3               3       26      11       15    50      29                   21    17        6       11

          by nationality 98 Armenians, 4 Ezidi, 5 Russians,
          by religion 106 Christians and 1 of unknown religion
          by place of birth
                  Chart 9.

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          by family status – 66 children have both parents, 13 have divorced parents, 20 do not have one parent,
          7 do not have both parents, 12 have single mothers, 2 – parents unknown, 15 have parents in detention,
          4 have parents who have been deprived of their parental rights.
                  Table 7.

                                                                                                                          Parents
With       With
                               With one      With no          Parents         With single Parents in                      deprived of
two        divorced
                               parent        parents          unknown         mother      detention                       parental
parents    family
                                                                                                                          rights
  66             13                20               7                2              12                       15               4

          by health status – 97 are healthy, 10 are not healthy
          by the person who brought them to the orphanage – 3 - parents, 44 - mothers, 15 - fathers, 8 –police,
          14 - relatives, 0 - maternity, 85 – local authorities, 12 - Children’s’ Reception and Orientation Centre,
          8 - others,
          by main reasons for ending up in the orphanage – 29 – left by the parents, 22 – left by the mother, 29
          – left by the fathers, 7 – do not have both parents, 65 – deprived of parental care, 4 – violence against
          the child, 11 – have been transferred from another orphanage, 81 – social insecurity of the family, 33 –
          beggary and vagrancy, 14 – health status of the parents, 41 – absence of housing conditions, 0 –
          alcohol addiction of parents, parents in detention – 15, 29 – other.
68 children maintain links with the family.

Children of school age study in special school N3 and school N 28 of Vanadzor.

Vanadzor orphanage educators have created individual development plans based on mental and
physical abilities of children and implement various tasks aiming at ensuring the general development
of the child. There are singing, dancing and cooking classes in the orphanage.

As a result of the survey a conclusion can be drawn that the orphanage has been successful in creating
favourable conditions for the orphans, including social orphans with respect of care, development,
education, psychological rehabilitation and adaptation for life in the society.

Zatik orphanage SNCO, Yerevan
Address: 145b Z. Sarkavagi st., Yerevan

Zatik orphanage was established in 1993 and transferred under the supervision of the Ministry of
Labour and Social Issues in 2002.

The goal of the orphanage is the protection of the rights and interests of the child, psychosocial care,
provision of rehabilitation services, food, clothes and other necessary accessories, care and upbringing,
health and education as well as organisation of the future life of children by giving them for adoption
or fostering according to procedures stipulated by the legislation of RA for children aged 3 - 18 living
in the orphanage.

At present the orphanage is for 135 children (72 staff), which are divided into 6 groups according to
age and psychomotor development degree.

Survey in Zatik orphanage was implemented during 16-25 December, 2002. During that period there
were 133 children in the institution of which
by gender - 63 girls and 70 boys,
by age groups – aged 6-10 29 children - 13 girls and 16 boys, aged 10-15 – 80 children - 37 girls and
43 boys, aged 15-18 – 21 children - 10 girls and 11 boys, above 18 – 3 children – 3 girl and 0 boy.
         Table 8.
           6-10                       10-15                      15-18                    18 and up
 Total     Male     Female    Total     M         F    Total       M        F     Total        M      F
   29       16        13        80        43      37     21          11     10       3          0      3

by nationality 126 Armenians, 1 Ezidi, 6 Russians,
by religion 132 Christians and 1 of unknown religion
by family status – 63 children have both parents, 21 have divorced parents, 16 do not have one parent,
16 do not have both parents, 32 have single mothers, 5 – parents unknown, 21 have parents in
detention, 2 have parents who have been deprived of their parental rights.
               Table 9.

                                                                                                             Parents
                                                                        With
With two With divorced        With one          With no         Parents                      Parents in      deprived of
                                                                        single
parents  family               parent            parents         unknown                      detention       parental
                                                                        mother
                                                                                                             rights
  63              21                16                16            5             32                   21           2
       by health status – 123 are healthy, 0 are not healthy
       by the person who brought them to the orphanage – 0 - parents, 48 - mothers, 16 - fathers, 16 –police,
       35 - relatives, 0 - maternity, 92 – local authorities, 7 - Children’s’ Reception and Orientation Centre, 7
       - others,
       by main reasons for ending up in the orphanage – 14 – left by the parents, 33 – left by the mother, 22
       – left by the fathers, 16 – do not have both parents, 99 – deprived of parental care, 19 – violence
       against the child, 25 – have been transferred from another orphanage, 92 – social insecurity of the
       family, 21 – beggary and vagrancy, 33 – health status of the parents, 49 – absence of housing, 2 –
       alcohol addiction of parents, parents in detention – 21, 65 – other.
       by place of birth
               Chart 10.

                    90
                    80
                    70
                    60
                    50
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       97 children maintain links with the family.

       Children of school age study in mainstream schools N84 and N85 and special school N7 for children
       with impaired vision as well as educational complex „Almanac“.

       Orphanage educators have created individual development plans based on mental and physical
       abilities of children and implement various tasks aiming at ensuring the general development of the
       child. There are singing, dancing and embroidery classes in the orphanage. Some of the children attend
       art school, some – car driving classes.

       Special orphanage of Yerevan SNCO
       Address: 13 M. Yahoubian st., Yerevan

       Yerevan special orphanage was established in 1999 and transferred under the supervision of the
       Ministry of Labour and Social Issues in 2002.
The goal of the orphanage is the protection of the rights and interests of the child, psychosocial care,
provision of rehabilitation services, food, clothes and other necessary accessories, care and upbringing,
health and education as well as transfer to other care institutions for children up to the age of 7 living
in the orphanage.

At present the orphanage is for 110 children (86 staff), which are divided into 6 groups according to
age.

Survey in Yerevan special orphanage was implemented during 3-6 December, 2002. During that
period there were 63 children in the institution of which
by gender - 24 girls and 39 boys,
by age groups – aged 0-3 – 6 children – 2 girls, 4 boys, aged 3-6 – 43 children – 14 girls, 29 boys,
aged 6-10 – 14 children - 8 girls and 6 boys.
        Table 10.
                         0-3                        3-6                             6-10
           Total        Male Female Total          Male Female Total                Male Female
           6            4    2      43             29   14     14                   6    8

by nationality 61 Armenians, 1 Russian and 1 of unknown nationality,
by religion 63 Christians
by place of birth
        Chart 11.

             50
             45
             40
             35
             30
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             20
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by family status – 25 children have both parents, 8 have divorced parents, 9 do not have one parent, 0
do not have both parents, 28 have single mothers, 1 – parents unknown, 5 have parents in detention, 0
have parents who have been deprived of their parental rights.


        Table 11.

                                                                        With
With two With divorced With                one With          no Parents                        Parents     in
                                                                        single
parents  family        parent                  parents          unknown                        detention
                                                                        mother

   25               8                  9                0             1              28              5
by health status – 43 are healthy, 20 are not healthy
by the person who brought them to the orphanage – 4 - parents, 36 - mothers, 8 - fathers, 1 - police, 6 -
relatives, 0 - maternity, 7 - local authorities, 4 - Children’s’ Reception and Orientation Centre, 4 -
others,
by main reasons for ending up in the orphanage – 10 – left by the parents, 10 – left by the mother, 12
– left by the fathers, 0 – do not have both parents, 31 – deprived of parental care, 1 – violence against
the child, 3 – have been transferred from another orphanage, 50 – social insecurity of the family, 7 –
beggary and vagrancy, 9 – health status of the parents, 45 – absence of housing, 0 – alcohol addiction
of parents, parents in detention – 5, 4 – other.
60 children maintain links with the family.

The orphanage implements programs for educational and medical-social rehabilitation of children
below the age of 7, organises integrated education within the limits of its possibilities, ensures the
protection of their rights and legal interests, organisation of their future life through giving them for
adoption or fostering, transfer to appropriate children’s institutions.

Huys orphanage SNCO
Address: 10 A. Shirakatsi st., Gyumri

Huys orphanage was established in 2000 and transferred under the supervision of the Ministry of
Labour and Social Issues in 2002.

The goal of the orphanage is the protection of the rights and interests of the child, psychosocial care,
provision of rehabilitation services , food, clothes and other necessary accessories, care and
upbringing, health and education as well as organisation of the future life of the children through
adoption or fostering according to the procedures stipulated by the legislation of RA for children up to
the age of 18 living in the orphanage.

At present the orphanage is for 70 children (41 staff), which are divided into 3 groups according to
age.

Survey of the orphanage was implemented during 3-6 December, 2002. During that period there were
61 children in the institution of which
by gender - 28 girls and 33 boys,
by age groups – aged 3-6 – 7 children – 3 girls, 4 boys, aged 6-10 25 children - 13 girls and 12 boys,
aged 10-15 – 2 children – 12 girls and 17 boys.
               Table 12.

                    3-6                          6-10                         10-15
          Total     Male Female Total            Male Female Total            Male    Female
            7        4     3      25              12    13     29              17       12


by nationality 58 Armenians, 2 Russian and 1 Ukrainian
by religion 60 Christians and 1 of unknown religion
by family status – 31 children have both parents, 4 have divorced parents, 10 do not have one parent, 2
do not have both parents, 18 have single mothers, 0 – parents unknown, 8 have parents in detention, 0
have parents who have been deprived of their parental rights.
        Table 13.

                    With                                               With
 With two                       With one        With no        Parents                           Parents in
                    divorced                                           single
 parents                        parent          parents        unknown                           detention
                    family                                             mother

      31                 4            10               2            0                 18               8

by health status – 58 are healthy, 3 are not healthy
by the person who brought them to the orphanage – 8 - parents, 31 - mothers, 5 - fathers, 5 –police, 9 -
relatives, 0 - maternity, 53 – local authorities
by main reasons for ending up in the orphanage – 3 – left by the parents, 12 – left by the mother, 15 –
left by the fathers, 2 – do not have both parents, 43 – deprived of parental care, 0 – violence against
the child, 2 – have been transferred from another orphanage, 59 – social insecurity of the family, 10 –
beggary and vagrancy, 15 – health status of the parents, 24 – absence of housing, 0 – alcohol addiction
of parents, parents in detention – 8, 22 – other.
by place of birth
        Chart 11.

             60
             50
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58 children maintain links with the family

School aged children attend Gyumri school N 4.

75% of children living in Huys orphanage are social orphans which is the result of the difficult social-
economic situation in the country, especially in the disaster zone, whereby the parents who are unable
to care for their children hand them over to the state.

Gyumri Children’s Home SNCO (specialised orphanage)
Address: 13 Tamanyan st., Gyumri

Gyumri Children’s Home was established in 1924 and transferred under the supervision of the
Ministry of Labour and Social Issues in 1998.

The goal of the orphanage is the protection of the rights and interests of the child, psychosocial care,
provision of rehabilitation services, food, clothes and other necessary accessories, care and upbringing,
   health and education as well as transfer to other care institutions for disabled children up to the age of
   6 living in the orphanage.

   At present the orphanage is for 95 children (125 staff) which are divided into 8 groups according to
   age and degree of psychomotor development.

   Survey in the orphanage was implemented during 8-13 July, 2002. During that period there were 95
   children in the institution of which
   by gender - 49 girls and 46 boys,
   by age groups – aged 0-3 – 34 children, 16 girls and 18 boys, aged 3-6 – 49 children – 27 girls, 22
   boys, aged 6-10 11 children - 6 girls and 5 boys, aged 10-15 – 1 boy.


   Table 14.


          0-3                           3-6                        6-10                               10-15
Total    Male Female Total             Male Female Total           Male Female Total                  Male    Female
34       18   16     49                22   27     11              5    6      1                      1       0

   by nationality 94 Armenians and 1 of unknown nationality
   by religion 93 Christians and 2 of unknown religion
   by place of birth
           Chart 12.

                50
                45
                40
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   by family status – 59 children have both parents, 2 have divorced parents, 7 do not have one parent, 0
   do not have both parents, 19 have single mothers, 10 – parents unknown, 0 have parents in detention, 0
   have parents who have been deprived of their parental rights.
           Table 15.

                           With                                                                   With
           With two                        With one         With no           Parents
                           divorced                                                               single
           parents                         parent           parents           unknown
                           family                                                                 mother

                    59           2                7               0                10               19
by health status – 4 are healthy, 91 are disabled
by the person who brought them to the orphanage – 32 - parents, 24 - mothers, 6 - fathers, 7 –police, 2
- relatives, 19 - maternity, 1 – local authorities, 0 -Children’s reception and orientation centre, 6 –
other
by main reasons for ending up in the orphanage – 5 – left by the parents, 4 – left by the mother, 0 –
left by the fathers, 0 – do not have both parents, 1 – deprived of parental care, 0 – violence against the
child, 13 – social insecurity of the family, 0 – beggary and vagrancy, 2 – health status of the parents, 0
– absence of housing, 0 – alcohol addiction of parents, parents in detention – 0, 91 – other.

15 children maintain links with the family

Children in Gyumri Children’s Home have organic and functional disorders of the central nervous
system as well as congenital or acquired physical defects. The orphanage implements programs for
medical-social rehabilitation of children, strives to solve the issue of physical defects of the children
by plastic surgery means coupled with the rehabilitation work implemented by special educators,
psychologists, speech therapists, physiotherapists working in the orphanage. The children living in the
orphanage have individual development programs.

The children in the orphanage mainly have both parents and their reason for ending up in the
orphanage is not only the difficult social situation of the family but their illness.

Kharberd specialised orphanage SNCO
Address: Nor-Kharberd village, Ararat Marz

Kharberd specialised orphanage was established in 1953.

The goal of the orphanage is the protection of the rights and interests of the child, psychosocial care,
provision of rehabilitation services, food, clothes and other necessary accessories, care and upbringing,
health and education as well as transfer to other care institutions for disabled children aged 6 – 18
living in the orphanage.

At present the orphanage is for 220 children (192 staff), which are divided into 16 groups according to
age and diagnosis of disease.

The survey in Kharberd specialised orphanage was implemented during 22 July – 2 August, 2002.
During that period there were 216 children in the institution of which
by gender - 94 girls and 121 boys, 1 – dual
by age groups –aged 3-6 – 4 children – 1 girl, 3 boys, aged 6-10 45 children - 20 girls and 25 boys,
aged 10-15 – 66 children – 29 girls and 37 boys, aged 15-18 – 49 children - 23 girls and 26 boys,
above 18 - 52 children – 22 girls and 30 boys.
        Table 16.
             3-6                          6-10                         10-15                         15-18
  Total      Male Female Total            Male Female Total            Male     Female Total         Male    Female
    4         3     1      45              25    20     66              37        29     49           26       23

by nationality 208 Armenians, 3 Ezidi, 1 Russian, 1 Georgian, 3 of unknown nationality
by religion 215 Christians, 1 of unknown religion
by place of birth
        Chart 13.

            100
             90
             80
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by family status – 164 children have both parents, 20 have divorced parents, 27 do not have one
parent, 3 do not have both parents, 12 have single mothers, 6 – parents unknown, 0 have parents in
detention, 0 have parents who have been deprived of their parental rights.
        Table 17.

                                                                                  With
      With two      With divorced     With one           With no          Parents
                                                                                  single
      parents       family            parent             parents          unknown
                                                                                  mother

         164              20                 27                3              6                  12

by health status – 216 disabled
by the person who brought them to the orphanage – 101 - parents, 59 - mothers, 27 - fathers, 3 –
police, 9 - relatives, 0 - maternity, 1 – local authorities, 0 -Children’s reception and orientation centre,
16 – other
by main reasons for ending up in the orphanage – 14 – left by the parents, 4 – left by the mother, 5 –
left by the fathers, 3 – do not have both parents, 4 – deprived of parental care, 0 – violence against the
child, 57 – transferred from other orphanage, 90 – social insecurity of the family, 0 – beggary and
vagrancy, 8 – health status of the parents, 6 – absence of housing, 2 – alcohol addiction of parents,
parents in detention – 0, 120 – other.

121 children maintain links with the family

Kharberd specialised orphanage was established in 1953 as an institution providing social and health
services. Like Gyumri orphanage this institution also provides 24-hour care for children with organic
and functional disorders of central nervous system, as well as congenital and obtained physical defects
below the age of 5. 140 of children in the orphanage have individual development plans.

Children are transferred here mainly from Gyumri orphanage after their 5th birthday.
53 young people (above 18) still live in Nor Kharberd specialised orphanage because of the lack of
alternatives.

Based on the survey conducted, we present the analysis of the data on children living in 8 state
orphanages as of 01.01.2003 by several parameters.
        Chart 14. Number of children in orphanages by gender


  140
  120
  100
                                                                                                         both
   80
                                                                                                         male
   60
                                                                                                         female
   40
   20
    0
          Gavar      Gyumri      Gyumri      Vanadzor     Yerevan     Yerevan    Yerevan      Nor
        orphanage   orphanage   "Children    orphanage   orphanage   "Special"   "Child     Kharberd
                     "Huys"      House"                   "Zatik"    orphanage   house"    specialized
                                                                                           orphanage




                                                         both
                                                          0%


                                            female
                                             47%                     male
                                                                     53%




        Chart 15. Number of children in orphanages by gender-age characteristics
   160                                                               0_3 Male
                                           147

   140                                                               0_3 Female
                                                 121
   120                                                               3_6 Male

                                                                     3_6 Female
   100
                                  88 84
                        76                                           6_10 Male
    80
                             57                        61 59
                                                                     6_10 Female
    60      49 52

                                                                     10_15 Male
    40

                                                                     10_15 Female
    20
                                                                     15_18 Male
     0
                                    1
                                                                     15_18 Female




From the analysis of these three charts it can be seen that males are dominant (53 %) in the
composition of children living in the orphanages, as for age groups - 6-10 (172 children) and 10-15
(288 children) are dominant. This can be explained by the fact that children below 6 are more often
placed in families, in particular through adoption.

         Chart 16. Number of children in orphanages by nationality


          Georgian; 1
                                          1
                                                               8
                                                                                    Armenian
              18
                                                                                    Russian
                                                                                    Ezidi
                                                                                    Ukrainian
                                                               12
                                                                                    Assyrian
                                                                                    Georgian
                                                                                    Unknown


                                          834



From the analysis of Chart 16 it can be seen that the majority of children living in orphanages are
Armenians, which can be explained by the fact that 98% of the population of the country are
Armenians.

         Chart 17. Number of children in orphanages by religion
                                 5                        2




                                                                                             Christian
                                                                                             Unknown
                                                                                             No religion




                                            868




From analysis of Chart 17 it can be seen that the majority of children living in the orphanages (83.4%)
are Christian, which can be explained by the fact that 98% of the population of the country are
Armenians and the state religion is Christianity.

        Chart 18. Number of children in orphanages by place of birth

           400 363
           350
           300
           250
           200
           150     108
                                          83
           100         47                                62
                                33             20   36                        27              24
            50                       13                       13   17   18            11
             0
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        Chart 19. Number of children in orphanages by family status



           600
                    479
           500

           400

           300
                                                                              207
           200
                                93         111
                                                                                            83
           100                                        38          34
                                                                                                          5
             0
                  with two      with     with one   without a   unknown    with single   parents in   deprived of
                  parents     divorced    parent     parent      parents    mother       detention     parental
                               family                                                                   rights




From data of Chart 19 it is clear that the majority of children in orphanages (479 children) have both
parents, are children of single mothers (207 children) and do not have one parent (111 children). In
this case it should be taken into consideration that 223 of children having both parents are cared for in
specialised orphanages.

        Chart 20. Number of children in orphanages by health status




   number of disabled                        362
       children


    number of healthy                                  531
        children


   number of children                                                       875
     in orphanages

                        0      200         400         600         800         1000




The analysis of Chart 20 shows that 41% of children in orphanages are disabled children, which are
mainly placed in two specialized orphanages.
Chart 21. Number of children in orphanages by the person handing them to the orphanage

                                       32   50                 161

               322



                                                                                  335
                      24
                                 95         58           94
     Parents                                          Mother
     Father                                           Internal affairs bodies
     Relatives                                        Orphanage
     Local authority bodies                           Children's reception and re-orientation center
     Other



As is well known, children are taken to the orphanage not only by parents or single parent but also
local authorities, police, Children’s reception and orientation centre, relatives and other bodies.
Analysis of Chart 7 shows that the main persons taking the child to the orphanage are mothers (335
children) the majority of which are single mothers, then we see the local authorities (322 children)
which make the decision to place the child under the custody of the state, parents (161 children) and
other bodies.

        Chart 22. Number of children in orphanages by main reasons of placement

                                                                           The child has been left by his/her
                                                                           parents
                                                                           By his/her mother
                                      108        89
                            81                         134                 By his/her father

                     115                                                   Without a parent
                                                               99
                                                                 38        Children deprived of parental care

                                                                           Child abuse in family

                                                                           Poor family

                      446                                  335             Transfer from another orphanage

                                             17                            Beggar or vagrant child

                                                                           Poor health of parents
             600                                                                        Parents deprived of parental
                                                                                        rights
                                                                        515             Mother deprived of parental
             500                                                                        rights
                                                                                        Father deprived of parental
                                                                                        rights
                                                                                        Alcoholic and drug addict
             400                                                                        parents
                                                                                        Alcoholic and drug addict
                                                                                        mother
                                                                                        Alcoholic and drug addict
             300                                                                        father
                                                                                        Parents in detention
                                                                  191
             200                                                                        Mother in detention

                                                                                        Father in detention

             100                                                                        Lack of housing
                                                             50
                                            28   21
                     3    2        1   3 15    6                                        Other

              0
                                               1


Analysis of Chart 22 shows that the main reasons for children ending up in an orphanage is the
poverty of families (446 children) followed by the indicator of children deprived of care in the family
(335 children), which is also conditioned by the difficult social-economic situation of the family. The
other important indicator is unsatisfactory housing or its absence (191 children).


Chart 23. Number of children in orphanages maintaining links with families

                                                              Orphanage of Gavar

                                                              “Hope” orphanage of Gyumri

                                                              “Children’s House” of Gyumri
               121                        92

                                                        58    Orphanage of Vanadzor


        41                                                    “Zatik” orphanage of Yerevan
                                                        15
             60                                    68         Special orphanage of Yerevan
                              97

                                                              “Child’s House” of Yerevan


                                                              Specialized orphanage of Kharberd




From the analysis of Chart 23 it can be seen that 63% (552 children) of 875 children living in 8
orphanages maintain links with the family and relatives.
The charts presented above and their analysis evidence of the existence of the phenomenon of social
orphanage.

Second stage
Situation analysis of families of children living in orphanages
Goals

In 2003 the second stage of the survey, Situation analysis of families of children living in orphanages
has been implemented, the goal of which was to clarify the status of those families, reasons of placing
the children in the orphanages and the selection of families that could have the children back given
appropriate support by the state. For this stage of the survey, children having both or a single parent
have been selected because of the higher likelihood of being able to receive the child back given
appropriate state support. Taking the information obtained during the first stage of the survey as a
basis, as well as based on the study of documents of children in orphanages and communication with
management of orphanages, 187 families were selected for the second stage of the survey of which 86
lived in marzes of RA and 101 – in Yerevan.

Based on the decree of the Minister of Labour and Social Issues, a working group has been established
for the development of the questionnaires for the survey. The following questions were addressed by
the questionnaire:
      Data on family members
      Data on occupation of family members
      Data on education of family members
      Data on health status of family members
      Data on minimum consumer basket of the family
      Data on living conditions (housing) of the family
      Agreement of the parent to get the child back into the family, adoption or placing in a foster
        family.

The questionnaire also provided space for conclusions of the interviewer on considering the given
family as „favourable“ or „unfavourable“. During the survey those families that would have the
capacity of caring for their children after accepting them back from the orphanage given appropriate
support (financial, psychological) were to be considered as „favourable“.

After the approval of the questionnaire, a team of 18 interviewers was established of which 2 were
from the staff of the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues, 7 – National Institute of Labour and Social
Studies and 9 – experts from Armenian Democratic Forum NGO. After the interviewers’ training the
survey took place from 30 October to 18 December 2003. Below we present the number of families
surveyed per marz.


    Yerevan                     91 families (October 30 - December 18)
    Shirak marz                 23 families (October 30 - December 2)
    Gyumri                      19 families
    Artik                       4 families

    Kotayk marz                 11 families (October 31 – November 4)
    Hrazdan                     2 families
    Abovyan                     2 families
    Byureghavan                 1 family
    Charentsavan                3 families
    Edvard                      1 family
    Nor Hachn                   1 family
Vayots Dzor        5 families (October 31 – November 2)
Eghegnadzor        2 families
Malishka           1 family
Areni              1 family
Rind               1 family

Syunik marz        5 families (October 30 – November 1)
Sisian             1 family
Goris              2 families
Kapan              2 families

Armavir marz       5 families (October 30 – November 2)
Armavir            2 families
Metsamor           1 family
Pshatavan          1 family
Vagharshapat       1 family

Ararat marz        7 families (November 1-4)
Artashat           1 family
Ararat             1 family
Surenavan          1 family
Urtsadzor          1 family
Masis              2 families
Nor-Kharberd       1 family

Aragatsotn marz    4 families (November 1-2)
Ashtarak           2 families
Sasunik            1 family
Talin              1 family

Lori marz          20 families (November 5-8)
Vanadzor           13 families
Tashir             1 family
Tumanyan           2 families
Spitak             3 families

Gegharkunik marz   6 families (November 5-8)
Gavar              1 family
Sevan              2 families
Mets Marsik        1 family
Pokr Marsik        1 family
Azat               1 family
        Chart 24. Families of children in orphanages by marzes

       100      91
        90
        80
        70
        60
        50
        40
        30                23                                             20
        20                            11                                                                        7
                                                     6          5                       5          5                      4
        10
         0
                                                IK




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The survey was greatly supported by the police, municipalities, village authorities, orphanage
specialists, as well as neighbours and relatives of families surveyed.

There were 187 families selected preliminarily of which 168 were surveyed, the reason being the
absence of the families and inability to find them with the address given. 77 of the families surveyed
were from marzes and 91 – from Yerevan.

Of 168 families surveyed 78 had both parents and 90 – one parent.

Based on the survey of these families, it was clear that they are mainly socially vulnerable families
living in extreme condition, which is the main reason for children ending up in the orphanage. 155 of
these families have been classified as “unfavourable” by the specialists with the following main needs:
               Bad living conditions of the family                                                          50%
               Unemployment of family members                                                               40%
               Absence of minimal social-economic conditions                                                70%

        Chart 25. Number of families (%) by assessment of social needs



                                                                                                                          Bad living
                                                                                                                          conditions of
                                                                                             50%                          the family
                     70%                                                                                                  Unemployment
                                                                                                                          of family
                                                                                                                          members

                                                                                                                          Absence of
                                                                                                                          minimal social-
                                                                              40%                                         economic
                                                                                                                          conditions




The families surveyed have been asked to list the factors that were the reasons for placing the children
in the orphanage:
            Bad health condition of family members               25%
Families that had one of the following characteristics were also considered “unfavourable”:
           One of the parents has left the family                        15%
           The family is facing long-term conflict situation             4%
           The father is alcohol (drug) addict                           2%

         Chart 26. Number of families (%) by health status and unfavourable morale in the family




                      4%      2%                                  Bad health condition of
                                                                  family members
                                                                  One of the parents has
                                                                  left the family
                                                                  The family is facing long-
          15%                                            25%      term conflict situation
                                                                  The father is alcohol
                                                                  (drug) addict




Thus below we present the main factors that were the reasons for children being placed in orphanages
in the 155 “unfavourable” families.

         Chart 27. Number of families (%) by main reasons for handing children to orphanages



  80%
                            70%                                   poor housing conditions of the family
  70%
                                                                  unemployed family members
  60%
                50%
  50%                                                             lack of basic social and living
                                                                  conditions in the family
                      40%
  40%                                                             poor health of family members

  30%                             25%
                                                                  one of the spouses has left the
                                                                  family
  20%                                   15%
                                                                  a permanent conflict situation exists
  10%                                         4% 2%               in the family
                                                                  the father is alcoholic (drug addict)
    0%
                                   1

The de-institutionalisation project provides for a 10% decrease in the number of children in
orphanages but the results of the survey did not prove the forecasts and of 168 families surveyed by
specialists only 13 were considered “conditionally favourable” families who had the ability to get their
children back given the improvement of social-economic conditions. 9 of these families live in
Yerevan, 3 – in Gegharkunik marz and 1 in Lori marz and their 26 children live in Yerevan Special
Orphanage, Yerevan Zatik Orphanage, Gavar Orphanage and Vanadzor Orphanage respectively.
Thus both first and second stages of the survey have shown that the main reasons for children ending
up in orphanages are poverty, unemployment and absence of satisfactory housing and social-economic
conditions.


Concluding remarks

The Ministry of Labour and Social Issues of Armenia jointly with UNICEF has developed a number of
documents based on the results of the survey implemented in the scope of the De-institutionalisation
of children in orphanages project implemented in 2002-2003. These efforts are directed at reforms of
state policy targeted at orphanages.

Based on the questionnaire completed in the first stage of the survey, the database „Mankuk“ was
created in Nork information-analytical centre of the ministry. This database incorporates data on
children in orphanages. It includes 3 databases with data on adoption of children in orphanages and
beggar and vagrant children. The system is linked with other information systems of the social field –
databases on benefits, the disabled, employment and pensions. This enables to receive operative
information not only about children but also the members of their families. The introduction of this
system will create favourable conditions both for the development of target programs for various risk
group children and to have an individual approach to each of these children to make the right
decisions.

Based on the results of the survey and situational analysis it was necessary to review the policy of the
state toward orphanages as the new social issues emerging from the difficult situation of the country
require new, modern approaches to their solution. In relation with this, decree N 1654 on „Approving
the state strategic program of reforms of institutions involved in providing care for children“ was
developed and approved on 27 November 2003 by the government of RA (Appendix 1). It is directed
at the protection of the rights and legal interests of children deprived of parental care and under the
custody of the state, creation of favourable conditions for their care, treatment, upbringing and
development, optimal physical and mental development, psychological rehabilitation and effective
socialisation, improvement of necessary activities for maintaining and developing their personality,
improvement of work methodologies of orphanages and bringing the whole process of work of these
institutions in compliance with international standards. The goal of the program approved by the
decree is to ensure the care and upbringing of children deprived of parental care in an environment as
close to family environment as possible and creating stable guarantees for fruitful future life. The
program includes also measures for the improvement of work of fostering and guardianship bodies,
which will result in prevention of social orphanage and introduction of the institute of foster families.

At the same time our state has declared the right of the child to live in a family considering orphanages
as only a measure of last resort. The idea of the right of the child to be raised in a family is a huge
progress in our state policy. Today in many developed countries one of the best ways to combat social
orphanage is placement of a child in a family, ensuring a family upbringing and the state should direct
its policies and measures to support families, to be able to ensure the survival and natural development
of their children. Based on the results of the second stage, the Ministry developed and on 1 July 2004
the government approved decree N 988 on “Approving the Pilot Project of De-institutionalisation”
(Appendix 2). The goal of the project is to decrease the load of orphanages, create conditions for the
decline of the phenomenon of social orphanage by means of de-institutionalisation of care, ensure the
children’s return to their natural environment, recover the links of children with their families and
communities, and ensure the creation of an enabling environment that will facilitate the realisation of
their rights. The goal of the project is to also redirect the expenditures for care of children in
orphanages towards the support of families, ensure the organisation of their care and upbringing in
biological families and create stable guarantees for fruitful future life of the children. At present the
project is in the implementation stage and the state allocates appropriate financial means for that
purpose.
However we should be realistic and accept the fact that placement of children deprived of parental
care in their families, ensuring family environment and upbringing for them will require efforts,
resources and long time. Thus it is important to improve the services provided to children in
orphanages at present, enhancing the quality of their life and integration in the society. It is necessary
to implement activities for identification and development of skills and abilities to face the challenges
of life after graduating from orphanages with respect to managing an independent household,
developing the knowledge of and playing the roles of a parent, citizen, and part of a group, developing
confidence in their own abilities, having appropriate professional orientation, ensuring opportunities
for acquiring professional or higher education. To enable the solution of these issues, the government
of RA has adopted decree N 1324-N (dated 5 August 2004) on “Recognising of an Authorised State
Body and Approving the Minimum State Standards of Care and Upbringing of Children in
Orphanages” (Appendix 3). In the near future the draft decree on “Approving the List and Quantities
of Minimum Food, Clothing and Personal Accessories of Children in Orphanages” and draft decree on
“Approving the List and Standards of Specialists of Orphanages” will be developed.

Other measures directed at the improvement of care and upbringing of children in orphanages include
amendments made in recent years to a number of legal acts, in particular, RA Law on the Rights of the
Child, Law on Education, Law on Organisation and Implementation of Inspections in RA. A number
of principles of the Law on the Rights of the Child have been brought into compliance with principles
of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the issue of control of orphanages by the government
of RA irrespective of their legal form has been clarified.

Since 2002 the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues has been implementing a number of programs for
the social protection of children deprived of parental care.

Based on the necessity to ensure satisfactory conditions of life for the graduates of orphanages, the
ministry developed and the government approved by decree N 1419-N (30.10.2003) the Program of
State Support to Graduates of State Child Care Institutions of RA (Appendix 4) which will solve
social, housing, educational and health issues for over 100 graduates of orphanages in the coming two
years.

On September 24 2002, the National Assembly adopted the Law on Social Protection of Children
Deprived of Parental Care. In order to ensure the realisation of this law, the following decrees have
been developed by the ministry and adopted by the government: decree on “Approving the procedures
for providing housing to children deprived of parental care” – government decree N 983-N dated
23.07.2003 and decree on “Approving the procedures for registration of children deprived of parental
care by fostering and guardianship bodies” – decree N 917-N dated 23.06.2003. In order to ensure the
realisation of these decrees, the ministry implements centralised registration of children deprived of
parental care and the possibilities of providing housing to them.

The ministry also implements the national strategy of welfare of children in the scope of which it is
planned to create two community centres in Yerevan and Gyumri. The activities of the centres will be
directed at issues related to health, education and upbringing of children of vulnerable groups. The
goal is to shift from the closed, institutional system of social care for children of risk groups to
creation of an open, decentralised system. Creation of these centres will help prevent the phenomenon
of social orphanage.

The solution of the issues of de-institutionalisation of care will be greatly enhanced by the introduction
of the institute of foster care which will ensure the care and upbringing of children in a family
environment, increase the targeting of support to children, decrease state expenditures and create new
workplaces (for foster families). There are steps made in this direction – through improvement of the
legislative framework and implementation of pilot projects. In particular, the foster family pilot project
is implemented in the scope of joint programs of the ministry and UNICEF.


In summary it should be mentioned that the issues of children deprived of parental care and especially
those in orphanages can be attributed to the difficult social-economic situation of the country, poverty
of the population, the process of overcoming of these being a long one. However the state has
undertaken serious steps in this direction during the last few years.
        On August 8 2003 by decree N994 of RA the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper was adopted
by the government of RA which is targeted at the creation of satisfactory conditions for vulnerable
groups of population needing state care
        In 2002 the means of family poverty benefits have been directed at children of poor families,
starting with July 2003 the addition of the benefit given to children of poor families was AMD 2000
instead of AMD 1500
        Since October 2003 the amount given to the family with the birth of the child has become
AMD 35 thousand instead of AMD 5900
        The decree of the government N 945-N dated 8 April 2004 has approved the National Plan for
Improvement of the Situation of Women and Raising their Role in the Society 2004-2010. It will
strive for reduction of unemployment among women, regulation of the issues of reproductive health,
improvement of birth rate, recovery of preschool education and care system as well as solution of the
social-economic issues of women.

Appendix N 1

Decree of the government of RA
27 November 2003              N 1654-N
On approving the state strategic program of reforms of institutions involved in child care

The government of RA decides the following for the improvement of the activities of institutions
involved in providing care for children:

1. Approve:
a) the state strategic program on reforms of institutions involved in providing care for children
according to Appendix 1
b) The schedule of the state strategic program on reforms of institutions involved in providing care for
children according to Appendix 2
2. For the Ministers of Social Security, Finance and Economy, Education and Science, Health of RA
– to ensure the implementation of the program within the period defined
3. The decree is considered in force from the day following the day of official publication.

Appendix
Of Decree of the government of RA
27 November 2003               N 1654-N
State strategic program of reforms of institutions involved in childcare

Introduction

Our country has started a period of modernisation of social relations and social reforms which have
emerged from social issues related to the difficult situation of the country and loss of some of the
achievements made in the past. This situation requires modern approaches to the solution of issues
facing the society and the state. In this context the state approach to the issues of children and their
implementation mechanisms take on a new meaning. These approaches largely shape the necessity to
develop a state strategic plan for improvement of institutions involved in providing care for children.
Protection of children means drawing a balance among three important components – the child, the
family and the society. Ensuring this integration should be continuously regulated, implemented and
monitored both by the state and the society as one of the basic duties toward the future of our society.

Situation analysis

A child, as a member of the society which is not yet fully formed and able to work, is dependent on his
parents, family and social security of the latter. For the child’s full development to be achieved it is
necessary to have the parents’ love, care and upbringing. Today crisis processes taking place in the life
of the society have entered the life of the family and changed inter-family relations, affected the
relations between generations, ending in conflicts as a result of which the child’s development
conditions have been destructed, their rights and legal interests – ignored. Today the society shares the
understanding that owing to various reasons children deprived of parental care are one of the most
vulnerable groups of population. Thus the deterioration of the situation and the phenomenon of social
orphanage cause serious concerns given the background of unfavourable demographic situation. This
is evidenced by the fact of children having both parents ending up in residential care institutions along
with children having lost one or both parents. Care and upbringing of these children according to the
Law on the rights of the child (Article 25) is born by the state through residential care institutions
(hereinafter orphanages). Orphanages ensure social rehabilitation of children below the age of 18
deprived of parental care - continuous social care and upbringing, physical, mental and spiritual
development, protection of their rights and legal interests.

At present there are 8 state and 3 non-state orphanages in the country, where the care and upbringing
of over 1000 children is organised. During the last few years the numbers of children in orphanages
have gone up considerably. Only in 8 orphanages under the supervision of the Ministry of Social
Security 900 children are cared for, of which 320 – in specialised orphanages. In non-state orphanages
we have the following number of children: “Missionaires” Benevolent Organisation, Armenian branch
office of Spitak - 32, “Tiramayr of Armenia” centre of Gyumri - 60, SOS Children’s village of family
type of Abovyan – 74 children.

It is necessary to improve the activities of care institutions and their methodologies by introduction of
international experience for the protection of the rights and legal interests of children deprived of
parental care, for creation of favourable conditions for their care, upbringing and development,
optimal physical and mental development, psychological rehabilitation and effective socialisation,
creation and enhancement of their personality.

Project goals

In article 21 of the Law on the Rights of the Child, the right of the child to live in a family is defined
and according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, care in institutions by no means should
replace poverty reduction strategies and family support services. Care in orphanages should be a last
resort action but not the only one. State policy and activities should be targeted at support of families
in order to ensure the survival and development of children.

The goal of the project is to ensure care and upbringing of children deprived of parental care in family
or close to family environment and create stable guarantees for their future life.

Project goals are to examine and offer appropriate solutions and measures for the following issues:
    1.   prevention of the growth in the number of children in orphanages
    2.   decreasing the load of orphanages
    3.   improvement of the quality of life of children, integration of children in the life of the society
    4.   social protection of orphanage graduates
    5.   implementation of control over the activities of orphanages in accordance with the law.
Measures to ensure the implementation of the project

1. Prevention of the growth in the number of children in orphanages

The results of 2002 survey of 8 orphanages under the supervision of the Ministry of Social Security
have shown an increase in the number of children by around 17%, especially in specialized
orphanages which can be attributed to increasing poverty, high price for medications and health care,
absence of parenting skills, absence of alternative services and other phenomena. The increase in the
number of children in orphanages is coupled with the increasing weight of the number of social
orphans, which is mainly attributed to the difficult social-economic state of the families. Absence of
alternative services, sharp decline of the number of nurseries and kindergartens, absence of day care
services for children exacerbate the situation.


Already steps have been taken for the solution of these issues. The Ministry of Social Security of RA
has developed and presented to the government the Procedures for Placement and Discharge of
Children in Residential Care Institutions, which will enable to prevent the flows of those children to
institutions that should not be there and the phenomenon of social orphanage. But only by defining
more strict conditions for placement in orphanages does not solve the problem because the vulnerable
group of children, mainly from socially vulnerable, one-parent families (single mothers) find
themselves in a difficult situation. The implementation of the National Strategic Plan on the Welfare
of Children in the scope of which two community centres are to be established in 2003 (in Yerevan
and Gyumri) gives a partial solution to the issue.


Necessary measures for the solution of the issue
1. enhancement of the work of fostering and guardianship bodies
a/ Development of the draft law of RA on Amendments to the law of RA on the Organization and
Implementation of Inspections in RA
b/ introduction of social work institute to be involved in children’s issues
c/ development of support mechanisms for conflict and socially vulnerable families and their children.

1.2. Creation of temporary shelters for children’s care
a/ expansion and rising of the accessibility of nurseries and kindergartens
b/ creation of day care centres in all marzes.

2. De-institutionalisation

De-institutionalisation (decreasing the load of orphanages) is an idea that is very often used to describe
those reforms that are directed at the change of the role of care institutions in child protection system.
Irrespective of at what level these reforms take place, the aim of bringing children out of orphanages is
to recover the links of the child with the family and the community, create an enabling environment
that will facilitate the realisation of their rights.

De-institutionalisation can be implemented at different levels. It can apply family-based alternative
systems that could be used instead of institutional care, such as foster families and adoption. It can be
implemented by reforms of social welfare system when the expenditures made by the state for the care
of the child in the institution are directed at the family support and reform of social protection systems,
creation of services that are alternatives for a family.

This is the aim of the joint project of the Social Security Ministry and UNICEF, De-institutionalisation
of residential care institutions, which is targeted at the analysis of the situation of children in
orphanages, creation of a database on these children, analysis of the situation of families of children
having parents and developing mechanisms for getting these children back to their families.

Project implementation expects to decrease the number of children in orphanages by 10%.
The introduction of the institute of foster care will greatly enhance de-institutionalisation. This will
ensure care and upbringing of children in a family environment, enhance the extent of targeting of
support provided to children, decrease budget expenditures and create new workplaces (for foster
families).

Necessary measures for the solution of the issue

2.1. implement measures for returning children in the orphanages to their biological families.
a/ needs assessment of biological families
b/ development of mechanisms for support of families
c/ ensuring necessary knowledge and skills for parents to care for their children (especially disabled).

2.2. Improvement of legislation regulating adoption
a/ adoption of legal acts stipulated by the Family Code of RA
b/ development of draft law on amendments to the Law on Local Governance bodies of RA, the aim of
which is to recover one of the duties delegated to the head of the local governance body by the
previous law – solution of issues related to adoption, fostering and guardianship according to
procedures stipulated by the legislation of RA.

3. Improvement of the quality of life of children in orphanages, integration of children in the society

Adoption of the idea of the child living and growing up in a family environment is a progress in state
policy. Today in many developed countries one of the best ways to combat social orphanage is to
return the child to a family environment, ensuring family upbringing. A number of countries managed
to achieve this and shut orphanages down and ensure best possible conditions for the life and
development of children deprived of parental care. The solution of this issue will require great efforts
and long time. That is why it is important to improve the quality of services provided to children in
orphanages, enhancement of the quality of their life and integration in the society. It is necessary to
implement programs targeted at identification and development of necessary skills to overcome
difficulties of independent life, be it leading a household, being a parent, a citizen, acquiring
knowledge and skills related to the role of a team member, developing trust toward oneself,
professional orientation, or acquiring professional education.

Because of the long-term absence of a system for upgrading and developing the human resources of
the system, many of the orphanage workers do not have knowledge of modern childcare, rehabilitation
and treatment practices.

Necessary measures for the solution of the issue

3.1. Improve health and pedagogical work of orphanages
a/ improvement of work practices of orphanages in the area of health care, childcare and education,
introduction of modern techniques
b/ complementing the staff of orphanages by social educators, social psychology specialists
c/ ensuring regular training for orphanage staff.

3.2. Introduction of social work institute in orphanages
a/ development and implementation of individual psychosocial rehabilitation plans for children of the
orphanage
b/ ensuring professional orientation for children of the orphanage
c/ ensuring opportunities for acquiring secondary professional or higher education for children of the
orphanage

4. Social protection for graduates of orphanages

In 8 of the 11 orphanages working in the republic every year around 20 young people become 18 year
old. Since 1991 around 150 young people have graduated from these institutions and their registration,
employment and housing support was highly disorganized. During these years they have received no
support from the state, live mainly in guesthouses or temporary buildings, in extremely unfavourable
conditions. Some of them are guided by other graduates of orphanages who are older.

In this sense, the adoption of the Law on Social Protection of Children Deprived of Parental Care was
a great achievement. The same issue is addressed by a project implemented by the Social Security
Ministry, entitled State Support to Graduates of Residential Care Institutions of RA, which will solve
social, education and health issues for around 100 graduates of orphanages.

Necessary measures for the solution of the issue

4.1. Ensuring social protection for graduates of orphanages
        Implementation of the project State Support to Graduates of Residential Care Institutions of
RA

5. Implementation of control over the activities of orphanages as stipulated by the law

At the same time with the increase in the number of children in orphanages, the number of orphanages
has also gone up, especially of non-state orphanages, which creates a conflicting situation with the
state policy of de-institutionalisation. In fact there is no control over care and upbringing of children in
non-state orphanages. There is no clear understanding about upbringing, care of children in non-state
orphanages as well as the future prospects of these children.

Based on the above need there have been changes and amendments to the Law on the Rights of the
Child, in particular, article 25, that stipulates control of orphanages by the state. The adoption of the
minimum state social standards, procedures for placement and discharge of children from orphanages
will greatly enhance the possibility to regulate this issue.

Necessary measures for the solution of the issue

5.1. Ensure control over the activities of orphanages
a/ adoption of legal acts necessary for the realization of article 25 of the Law on the Rights of the
Child
b/ Development of the draft law on Amendments to the Law on Organization and Implementation of
Inspections in RA.

Appendix N2

Decree of the government of RA
1 July 2004              N 988-N
On Approving the Pilot Project on De-institutionalisation
The government of RA decides

1. Approve the Pilot Project on De-institutionalisation according to the Appendix.
2. Define the monthly amount of support to the biological family of the child in the orphanage in the
amount of AMD 30 thousand for each child brought back to the biological family.
3. For the Minister of Labour and Social Issues:
    in a month’s time to approve the sample forms for the contract of “Providing support to the
       biological families in relation to returning the child back from the orphanage to the family”
       and assessment act for the “Social-economic situation of the family”.
4. The decree is considered in force starting with the tenth day after the official publication.

Appendix
Decree of the government of RA
1 July 2004                 N 988-N
Pilot Project on De-institutionalisation
I. Introduction

The present project was developed in accordance with article 25 of the Law on the Rights of the Child
and State Strategic Program on Improvement of Residential Care Institutions approved by decree
N1654-N dated 27 November 2003 appendix 1 paragraph 2.

By recognizing the right of the child to grow up in a family the state considers orphanages as the last
resort action and directs its policy and activities toward supporting the families, ensuring the survival
and optimal development of the child.

At present there are 8 state and 4 non-state residential institutions (hereinafter orphanages) where
permanent care and upbringing is being provided for more than 1150 children. Only in 8 orphanages
under the supervision of the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues as of 01.01.2004 there were around
940 children of which 320 live in specialized orphanages. During the last few years there has been a
considerable increase in the number of children in orphanages. Along with children deprived of
parental care, there are children in orphanages who have parents refusing to provide care and
upbringing and protect the legal interests of their children. This is an evidence of a deepening process
of social orphanage taking place in the country.

The adoption of the idea of the child having the right to grow up in the family is a progress in state
policy. Today the best way to combat social orphanage in the developed countries is to place a child in
a family, ensure family care and upbringing.

Taking into account the above-mentioned, the Ministry, in the scope of its joint plans with UNICEF
for 2002-2003, has implemented the de-institutionalisation project. It has been implemented in two
stages. In 2002 the survey of the situation of children in orphanages has taken place, which had the
aim of clarifying the situation of children living in orphanages under the supervision of the Ministry.
In this respect two questionnaires were developed for the survey, trainers were trained and
implemented the survey of around 875 children living in 8 orphanages.

The results of the survey evidence that as compared to 1998 there was an increase of around 17% of
the number of children especially in specialized orphanages which can be attributed to deteriorating
poverty level, high prices for medications and health care, lack of parenting skills, lack of services for
care of children. The growth in the number of children in orphanages is coupled by the increase in the
weight of social orphans. It should be mentioned that compared to 2002 in 2003 in the above-
mentioned orphanages the number of children has grown by 50.

Based on data obtained during the survey, the database “Manuk” was created in 2003.

In 2003 the second stage of the project was implemented – Situation analysis of families of children in
orphanages. The aim of this stage was to clarify the situation of the families, the reasons for handing
the children to orphanages, and selection of families that are able to accept their children back given
appropriate support by the state. There was a questionnaire developed for this survey, interviewers
were trained and there were 187 families selected for the survey. The main criteria selected for the
survey of families were the social-economic, housing and living conditions, health status of family
members, their employment, as well as the morale of the family. There were 168 families surveyed of
which 78 were families with both parents, 90 – with one parent.

The project implementation expected that the number of children in orphanages would go down by
10% but the results of the survey did not justify this assumption and only 13 of 168 families surveyed
were recognized as conditionally favourable for bringing the children back given the improvement of
their social-economic conditions. 9 of these families live in Yerevan, 3 – in Gegharkunik marz and 1 –
in Lori marz and their 26 children are in Yerevan Special orphanage, Yerevan Zatik orphanage, Gavar
orphanage and Vanadzor orphanage.

The rest of the families are recognized as unfavourable based on their social-economic and living
conditions.

The main need of unfavourable families were housing (50%), employment (40%), lack of basic social-
economic conditions (70%) and bad health (25%). The families where one of the parents has left were
also recognized as unfavourable (15%), as well as those with long-term conflict (4%) and the father
being an alcohol (drug) addict (2%).

II. General goals of the project

The general goal of the project is to decrease the load of orphanages and decrease the phenomenon of
social orphanage.

III. Project goals

The goal of the project is to return children in the orphanages back to their biological families, create
stable guarantees for their future life.

The goals of the project are to also target the expenditures made for the care of children in orphanages
to families.

IV. Expectations from project implementation

Expectations from project implementation are:
1.     return of children in orphanages to their biological families.
2.     provision of support to biological families.


V. Necessary measures to obtain the outcomes of the project

1.      return of children in orphanages to their biological families

1.1.    Assessment and selection of families and children

Based on surveys implemented in the scope of joint annual plans of the Ministry and UNICEF for
2002-2003, the team of regional social service agencies and orphanages will select children living in
orphanages and their families to get involved in the present project.

1.2.    Psychological support to families and children
Team of regional social service agencies and orphanages will implement psychological counselling
with selected families and children in order to prepare them to live together. The work with children
will be carried out by the appropriate specialists of the orphanages. For implementation of this work
with families if deemed necessary, the Ministry will involve appropriate professionals.

1.3.     Contracting families

Each year the ministry makes a contact with the parents (or parent) for the provision of social
assistance in relation to bringing the child back from the orphanage. According to the contract the
parent is liable to ensure favourable conditions for the care, development and upbringing of the child
that is back from the orphanage, implement the protection of the rights and interests of the child,
ensure the enrolment of the child in the mainstream school, monitor his/her progress. Failure to realize
these duties or improper realization of these will lead to the Ministry having to realize its duty to get
the child back into the orphanage.

The period of the contract can be prolonged every year by mutual consent of the parties.

The fostering and guardianship bodies will make an appropriate decision on getting the child back to
the biological family.

1.4.     Monitoring of the life of the child in the family

The parent (or parents) shall give their written consent for the implementation of monitoring of the
care and upbringing of the child in the family by the team of social work regional agencies and
fostering and guardianship bodies and entering their home at any time during the day.

Social workers should have home visits to families at least twice a month and more often as deemed
appropriate and submit an appropriate report to the manager of social service regional agency about
the care and upbringing of children in the family.

The manager of the social service up to the 5th of every month and in December, up to 25 December
shall submit completed acts about the care and upbringing of children in the family based on home
visits made during the previous month.

2.       Provision of support to biological families

2.1.     support in seeking employment

The team of social service regional agencies will support the families through regional employment
centres and help the members of the family seek employment, by involving in professional trainings or
refreshment courses.

2.2.     Financial support to families

2.2.1.   Inclusion in poverty benefits net

2.2.2.   Monetary support to families

Each month based on the conclusion of the manager of the social service, the families will receive
AMD 30 thousand for each child given back to the biological family which is equal to the
expenditures provided for in the state budget for subsistence of children living in state orphanages
within the system of Ministry of Labour and Social Issues (excluding administrative expenses).

For that purpose an account is opened in the name of one of the parents of the child in the bank and the
Ministry transfers the said amount to this account each month.
     Monetary support is ceased based on the conclusion of the social service manager given the
     elimination of obstacles for the care and upbringing of the child in the family and achieving
     correspondence between the income per capita in the family and the minimum consumer basket
     defined by the government of RA.

     2.3.       Psychosocial work with families

     Plans for psychosocial rehabilitation of families will be implemented through the social service
     agencies.

     VI. Criteria for success of the project

                     Description                                   Criterion
General goals of the De-institutionalisation and decline of social Reducing the load of
project              orphanage                                     orphanages by 10% up to
                                                                   2007
Goals of the present Returning children in orphanages to their 26 children given back to
project              biological families and creation of stable their families before 2005
                     guarantees for their future life
Expected result 1.   Returning children in orphanages to their 26 children
                     biological families
Expected result 2. Provision of support to biological families     13 families

Activity 1.1.              Identification of families and children      26 children, 13 families
Activity 1.2.              Psychological support to families and        26 children, 13 families
                           children
Activity 1.3.              Contracting families                         13 families
Activity 1.4.              Monitoring of the life of children in        13 families
                           families
Activity 2.1.              Employment support to families               13 families
Activity 2.2.1.            Inclusion in family poverty benefit net      13 families
Activity 2.2.2.            Monetary support to families                 13 families
Activity 2.3.              Psycho-social support to families            13 families


     Appendix N3

     Decree of the government of RA
     5 August 2004            N 1324-N
     On recognizing as state governance body of RA and approving the minimum state social
     standards for care and upbringing of children in orphanages

     According to Article 25 of the Law on the Rights of the Child the government of RA decides

     1. According to Article 25 of the Law on the Rights of the Child, the Ministry of Labour and Social
     Issues shall be recognized as authorized state governance body of RA.

     2. Approve minimum state social standards for the care and upbringing of children in orphanages
     according to the appendix.

     3. For the Minister of Labour and Social Issues of RA

               within a three-month period submit to the government of RA
Draft decrees of the government of RA On Approving the Procedures for Providing Lump Sum
Monetary Support to Graduates of Orphanages (irrespective of their organizational-legal structure), On
Approving the List and Quantities of Food, Clothing and Personal Items for Children Living in
Orphanages (irrespective of their organizational-legal structure) and On Approving the List and
Standards for Specialists for Staff of Orphanages (irrespective of their organizational-legal structure).

3. The present decree is in force starting with the tenth day from the date of official publication.

4. Sub-paragraph 16 of paragraph 2 of the present decree is in force starting with 1 January 2005.

Appendix
Decree of the government of RA
5 August 2004             N 1324-N
Minimum state social standards for care and upbringing of children in orphanages
These standards are to be applied in orphanages of RA (irrespective of their legal-organizational
structure).
Standard I. Information

1. The orphanage ensures the following for staff and visitors:
     a) information on the mission, goals, functions, internal disciplinary rules specifying the
working features and relations of staff, as well as location (address), telephone numbers, e-mail, and
name of the officials responsible for the activities of the orphanage
      b) information on orphanage activities, including date of establishment, history, traditions, main
benchmarks, staff, features of care and upbringing of children living in the orphanage, support
provided by other organizations and sponsors, cooperation.

2. The orphanage provides children with important information on provided services, facilities,
emergency exits, adjacent land, possibilities of providing support and protection in emergencies, etc.
based on their age and maturity.

Standard II. Protection of the rights of the child

3. Care and upbringing in the orphanage is implemented in accordance with the constitution of
Armenia, CRC, Law of RA on the Rights of the Child, Law of RA on Social Protection of Children
Deprived of Parental Care and other legal acts.
4. The orphanage respect the rights of children and people presenting them (parents that have not been
deprived of parental rights or legal representatives, relatives) to appeal against the activities of the staff
of the orphanage, defines an internal appeal procedure in accordance with the law and keeps a special
box for complaints and proposals.
5. The orphanage ensures the security of the child in accordance with security rules defined by the
legislation of RA.
6. The orphanage ensures the protection of the child in accordance with the legislation of RA from:
a) psychological and physical violence, including sexual abuse,
b) maltreatment,
c) exploitation
d) crimes
e) neglect and unfair treatment
f) materials harmful for health and conditions risky for life.
In case of appeal by people presenting the children (parents that have not been deprived of parental
rights or legal representatives, relatives) against the activities of the staff of the orphanage, the
orphanage implements appropriate actions directed at the protection of the rights of the child.
7. The orphanage should have a register for registration of cases of violence against and among
children and referral system to appropriate law enforcement bodies.
8. The orphanage provides comfortable, safe and reliable transport for transportation of children.

Standard III. The entry of the child in the orphanage and his/her integration

9. The orphanage organizes the familiarization of the child with the staff and other children of the
orphanage. The child is allowed to bring articles, which do not impose health risks for surrounding
people and domestic animals if the conditions of the orphanage allow this.
The orphanage ensures the maintenance of valuable belongings of the child.
The integration of the child in the orphanage is ensured taking into consideration personal
characteristics of adaptation to the social environment, paying special attention to the issues of
adaptation of disabled children, and making them independent.
10. The work with children in orphanages is implemented according to individual psychosocial
rehabilitation plans.
These individual plans are developed, implemented and regularly reviewed by appropriate staff of the
orphanage (pedagogue, psychologist, social worker, medical doctor). The individual plans for children
having parents not deprived of parental rights or legal representatives incorporate the views of these
persons.


Standard IV. Care

11. The orphanage organizes care of the child in the orphanage during the whole period up to the child
becoming 18 or the child going back to the biological family or being placed in an alternative family
(adopting, foster families) and maintains the continuity principle creating an environment that is as
close to the family environment as possible and guided by individual approach.

Standard V. Food

12. The orphanage ensures wholesome food in necessary quantities and appropriate for the age of the
child.
13. The orphanage provides individual approach to ill children or children eating too much or too little
– as per the doctor’s prescriptions.

Standard VI. Clothing

14. The orphanage provides cloths and personal items for children based on the age of the child. The
child who has completed their sixth year can participate in the selection of their cloths and personal
items within the limits of the budget of the orphanage.

Standard VII. Needs


15. The orphanage provides privacy for catering for the personal needs and hygiene of children
independently and if necessary with the help of the staff.
Standard VIII. Petty cash for the child


16. The orphanage provides petty cash for children studying in school, teaches them to effectively use
money they have.
For personal needs:
Children of 7-12 years receive AMD 2 thousand per month,
Children of 13-18 years receive AMD 3 thousand per month.
The amount intended for the petty cash for children living in state orphanages is provided by the state
budget and the corresponding amount for the children living in non-state orphanages is provided from
the resources of that institution.


Standard IX. Space and its security
17. The orphanage provides the child with secure housing space which is in compliance with sanitary
–hygiene standards defined by the legislation of RA taking into consideration the gender, age and
health status of the child.
18. The orphanage should have an evacuation plan, the staff should be trained in civil protection to
react appropriately to emergency situations paying particular attention to the preparation of the
evacuation of the disabled children.
19. The orphanage space should be safe from fire and should be equipped with special exits for
emergency, signal systems and anti-fire equipment.
20. The orphanage should be built in an environment safe for health.
21. The orphanage should have safe and quality playgrounds for children – appropriate for various age
groups.

Standard X. Health

22. The orphanage should have first aid services and medical equipment.
Specialized orphanages for children with deviations of physical and mental development should be
equipped with psychological, preventive, medication and rehabilitation services.
23. The orphanage ensures appropriate conditions and opportunities for healthy lifestyle for children
(food, physical training and sports, personal hygiene, leisure activities).
24. The orphanage provides counselling for children on sexual maturity, safe sexual behaviour, as well
as negative consequences of alcohol and drug addiction.
25. Each child is being examined in an appropriate health institution by a multi-disciplinary team
according to individual prescriptions.
The area policlinic implements methodological guidance and consulting for the organization of health
care in the orphanage.
Each child in the orphanage has a health card.

Standard XI. Education and upbringing

26. The orphanage ensures multi-faceted and optimal development of the child taking into
consideration the spiritual, gender-age, national and ethnic characteristics, personal preferences,
interests, abilities and needs.

27. The orphanage ensures the involvement of the child in mainstream education - as a rule in the
schools of the community, and if necessary – by placement in special schools according to procedures
stipulated by the legislation of RA.
28. The orphanage ensures the involvement of the child, his/her parents not deprived of parental rights
and legal representatives or relatives (if applicable) in the decision-making in relation to the education
of the child.
29. The orphanage develops and implements a special program for the development of the personality
of the child, which provides for individual sessions, home works, reading, active plays, professional
orientation, participation in economic activities (preparation and selection of food, sanitary-hygienic
work, etc.) and additional extracurricular activities (sports, arts, technical) according to the preferences
of the child. These may be organized both internally and outside the orphanage.
Standard XII. Leisure activities
30. The orphanage ensures participation of the child in selection and planning for his/her leisure time.
31. The orphanage ensures participation of children in trips, sports and cultural events.
Standard XIII. Communication of cultural values
32. The orphanage ensures formation of the national identity of the child, knowledge of national
traditions, customs and ceremonies.
33. The orphanage ensures formation of the feeling of belongingness to the family, understanding of
gender roles.
34. The orphanage creates favourable conditions for the formation of humanistic values, freedom of
mind and consciousness in the child.

Standard XIV. Relations between the staff of the orphanage and children
35. The orphanage ensures formation of independence and dignity in the child based on mutual
respect, trust, friendliness, support and cooperation.
36. The orphanage ensures formation of the knowledge about self, development of self-esteem and
independence.
37. If necessary the orphanage consistently implements works to help children develop socially
acceptable modes of behaviour.
38. The orphanage applies special pedagogical approach to unmanageable, difficult children –
methods and techniques that take into consideration the age and development level of the child. It is
prohibited to apply punishment measures (including limitations of food, leisure or personal hygiene,
opportunities for meetings with parents not deprived of parental rights or legal representatives and
relatives).
39. The orphanage informs the parents or legal representatives (if applicable) within 24 hours about
delinquencies committed by the child and measures applied by law enforcement bodies.
40. In case of the child leaving the orphanage (when the location of the child is unknown) and absence
(when the child has gone home and has not been back in time) the orphanage informs the parents or
legal representatives (if applicable) and police.
41. The orphanage provides counselling for staff, parents not deprived of parental rights and children
to facilitate interpersonal relations among them.

Standard XV. Links of the child with the family and relatives
42. The orphanage strives to maintain the links of the child with the family and relatives. The child’s
care, individual plan for psychosocial development, relations with the family are planned, organized
and implemented based on the best interests of the child.
43. The orphanage strives to maintain the links of the child with friends and other social environment
if that stems from the best interests of the child.

Standard XVI. Visits to the child
44. The orphanage ensures meetings of parents not deprived of parental rights, legal representatives or
relatives with the child except in cases when these persons turn up in an inappropriate or anti-hygienic
state.

Standard XVII. Communication means

45. The orphanage should be equipped with necessary communication means as well as a separate
meeting room.

Standard XVIII. Individual development plan for future life

46. The orphanage develops the individual plan for the future life of the graduate.

Standard XIX. Consultation and information for the graduate
47. The orphanage ensures professional orientation for children aged 14-18, supports them in seeking
employment by cooperating with regional employment bodies and employers.
The orphanage provides the graduate with information about bodies providing social support (social
service regional agencies, employment centres, NGOs, etc.).
Standard XX. Documents for the graduate of the orphanage
48. The orphanage provides all necessary documents to graduates and children going back to their
families, adoptive parents or foster parents (birth certificate/passport, medical card, for the child
entitled for benefits – corresponding certificate on amount on the personal bank account, as well as
certificates of ownership (if applicable).
49. Orphanage graduates are entitled to a lump sum payment from the state budget in the amount of
AMD 50.000.

Standard XXI. Training for staff

50. Each worker of the orphanage should have a job description approved by the manager of the
orphanage and appropriate from the point of view of the present standards.
51. The orphanage ensures periodical training and medical examination for staff directly working with
children.

Appendix N4
Decree of the government of RA
30 October 2004                    N 1419-N
On approving the program of state support to graduates of residential care institutions
The government of RA decides
1. Approve the program on State support to graduates of residential care institution of RA according to
Appendix.
2. The present decree is in force from the date of official publication.
Appendix
Decree of the government of RA
30 October 2004                  N 1419-N
The program of state support to graduates of residential care institutions
Introduction
The present program has been developed in accordance with the Law of RA on social protection of
children deprived of parental care and requirements of the memorandum of understanding specifying
the general and special conditions of creation and utilization of monetary means for Food Security
Program of the European Commission.

in 11 residential care institutions active in the republic of Armenia (hereinafter orphanage) around 30
children complete their 18th birthday and graduate from the orphanage annually. Their further life
during the last 10-12 years has been planned by the previous graduates of the orphanages (hereinafter
graduates) – independently, without any state support.

In the soviet times the issues of employment and housing for graduates was the responsibility of the
state. Since independence the orphanages have been successful in creating satisfactory conditions for
children living there. Unfortunately because of the difficult situation of the country the fate of the
children graduating from the orphanages is uncertain.

Various examples of attention toward this issue can be presented – both by the state and NGOs but
they are episodic and uncoordinated.

There are 8 state and three non-state orphanages in the republic where around 1000 children are
provided with care and upbringing.

During the last few years there was an increase in the number of children in orphanages. Only in 8
orphanages under the supervision of the Social Security Ministry there has been a 17% increase in the
number of children as compared to 1998. During this time there were three non-state orphanages
established in the country, which is further evidence of the numbers given above. The increase in the
number of children in orphanages is coupled with an increase in the weight of social orphans. This is
attributed to the deterioration of the social-economic state of the country and deepening poverty.

Since 1991 there have been around 150 graduates from orphanages who have reached the age of 18.
They mainly live in guesthouses – Lamps factory, Zeitun dormitory, Nor Nork 2 nd massive and other
places, in extremely poor conditions: 15% are not registered with any housing authority, 10% do not
have a profession, 90% do not have permanent employment, and hence means for living. 30 of them
are homeless and overnight anywhere they can.

Support for registration, seeking employment and housing for graduates of 1991-2003 was not planned
and was on a request basis – if the graduate applied for support he/she was likely to get it.

There have been a number of initiatives by Social Security Ministry, Armenian Relief Fund and
orphanage graduates’ NGO “Aygabac” to try to solve issues related to education, professional
orientation and housing for graduates.

Chapter I
Projects goals
The goal of the present project is the social protection and integration of the graduates of orphanages
who have graduated during 1991-2003.
Chapter II.
Project aims
Project aims are:
    1. ensuring housing for graduates
    2. professional orientation, education and training for graduates
    3. ensuring income to meet the basic needs of graduates
    4. free health care for graduates
    5. legal support for graduates.
Chapter III.
Actions
The actions targeted at project implementation are divided into two groups.
The first group of actions provides examination of the issues of graduates and children living in
orphanages and development of individual plans based on the results of the survey.
The second group of actions includes those directed at the implementation of individual plans.

1.        Ensuring housing for graduates

After the examination of the issues of graduates and children living in orphanages and development of
individual plans it will be possible to decide on the means and necessity of providing housing for each
graduate. Taking into consideration the general picture and preliminary research, we can assume that
95% of graduates will need housing. The project provides for the following ways of providing
housing:
1) purchase of apartment
2) rental of apartment
3) provision of accommodation in student dormitories for students of secondary professional and
higher educational institutions.

2.        Professional orientation, education and training for graduates

This group of actions provide for ensuring education and training for graduates based on the
requirements of the labour market.
1) professional orientation for children living in the orphanages
2) ensuring preliminary professional education
3) ensuring secondary professional education
4) ensuring higher education
5) training (for graduates of 1991-2003).

3.        Ensuring income able to satisfy the basic needs of the graduates

This group of actions provide for ensuring income for graduates necessary for the satisfaction of their
basic needs. The following are provided for as potential sources of income:
1) employment
2) support in the form of commodities
3) provision of land (for entrepreneurship through agricultural activity)
4) benefits
5) tuition
6) lump-sum payment support.

4. Free medical service for graduates
The project provides for:
1) inclusion of orphanage graduates /aged 18-23/ in annual state target programs in health care
2) implementation of medical examinations for orphanage graduates /of 1991-2003/.

5. Legal support for graduates

After the examination of the issues of children living in orphanages and graduates in some cases it will
be necessary to protect their ownership rights. To this end the project will provide legal support for
graduates.

Chapter IV.
Mechanisms for the implementation of actions
    1. Ensuring housing for graduates
The implementation of this component of the project (1 & 2 – purchase and rental of the apartment)
will be carried out according to the Law of RA on Purchases through a tender organized by the State
Purchases Agency in the scope of which, in accordance with the conditioned specified by the Social
Security Ministry, the corresponding number of apartments (to be specified after the survey and
development of plans) will be purchased or rented. The rights of the graduates to these apartments will
be defined by appropriate contracts. The accommodation specified in point 3 would be provided to
graduates, which will study in educational institutions.

     2. Professional orientation, education and training for graduates

1) Along with mainstream education, appropriate staff of orphanages will implement special activities
with children living in orphanages for their professional orientation based on their preferences and
interests. There will be psychological support for children to prepare them for independent life out of
the orphanage.
2) Based on the individual plans and examining the opportunities of preliminary professional
education courses organised, as well as opportunities of becoming a trainee with various employers,
appropriate applications will be made for the inclusion of graduates in these courses.
3) Based on children’s knowledge and preferences appropriate support will be provided to graduates to
acquire education at secondary professional educational institutions.
4) Based on children’s knowledge and preferences appropriate support will be provided to graduates to
acquire education at higher educational institutions.
5) The orphanage graduate can apply to regional centres of Employment Service of RA or other
organizations involved in organizing trainings for inclusion in special training programs.

     3. Ensuring sufficient income to satisfy the main needs of the graduates

1) In cooperation with the area centres of Employment Service of RA and private employers, support
will be provided to orphanage graduates for seeking employment.
2) According to the Law on Purchases of RA, the State Purchases Agency will organize tenders for
furniture, equipment and other accessories for apartments to be provided to graduates.
3) According to the Law on Purchases of RA, the State Purchases Agency will organize tenders for
land to be provided to graduates and their respective rights will be reflected by appropriate contracts.
4) The amount of special benefits, payment procedures and standards for entitlement for graduates are
defined by the government of RA.
5) Graduates studying in educational institutions will receive tuition.
6) Each graduate in 2003 will receive a lump sum of AMD 50 000.

4.      Free medical care for graduates

1) The Ministry of Health of RA, according to the proposal of the Ministry of Labour and Social
Issues, has included orphanage graduates as a separate social group for receiving free medical care in
the scope of annual health target programs.
2) The NGO implementing the project will have a contract with health providers for organization of
medical care for the beneficiaries.

5.      Legal support to graduates

1) In the scope of the support to the protection of the rights and legal interests of graduates, legal
support will be provided by NGOs.
Chapter V.

Project implementation

The project will be implemented through a non-governmental organization with which the Ministry
will have a contract on works to be implemented.

An indispensable part of the contract will be technical tasks developed by the Ministry along with
clear indicators for assessment of implementation.

Chapter VI.

Monitoring of project implementation

The monitoring of the project will be carried out by the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues of RA.

				
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