Georgia establishes family-type service for children with disabilities

Thu 30 March 2017 05:04 GMT | 09:04 Local Time

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A new specialised family-type service for children with severe disabilities has been established in Georgia’s third largest city of Kutaisi in the country’s west.

The service was established by the Health Ministry with the support of USAID and UNICEF, according to agenda.ge.

Health Minister David Sergeenko, United States Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly, USAID Mission Director Douglas Ball and UNICEF Representative in Georgia Laila Omar Gad visited Kutaisi to open the new service today.

This is the first unit in Georgia with the community-based care for young children with severe and profound disabilities and health problems.

In this service, children transferred from large state-run institutions receive a 24-hour nursing care, physical rehabilitation, and community integration services.

The service is established with the support of USAID’s $1million five-year Protection of Children with Disabilities project, implemented by UNICEF since 2015.

The goal of the project is to ensure that infants and young children grow in a family environment and receive services necessary for their individual developmental needs.

A local NGO Breath Foundation donated building for the service in Kutaisi and will manage it with the Health Ministry’s funding and regulations.

Within the framework of the USAID supported project UNICEF has been assisting the Georgian government in rehabilitating and equipping the building, developing standards of care, training of professionals like nurses and social workers who will work with children and linking the service with health care clinics and Social Service Agency in Kutaisi.

The establishment of such services will allow the government to expand the alternative services for children with disabilities to gradually replace the model of institutional care for these children.

Opening of another specialised service in Tbilisi is planned at the end of 2017.

Several more similar services need to be established to have the children with disabilities remaining in large institutions transferred to a family-type environment, the ministry said.

News.Az

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