October 2014 – December 2015
Funded by UNICEF Kazakhstan

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child protects children’s basic rights, such as the right to grow up in a family environment, to education, to health, and protection from harm. Kazakhstan is taking steps to ensure the protection of these children’s basic rights.

Of Kazakhstan’s 5.5 million children, 49,000 live in state-run child care institutions, and among them, 18,000 children with disabilities live in various state residential institutions. Every year, 2,000 children are abandoned or placed out of parental care, hindering their intellectual, physical, emotional, and social development and putting them at risk for neglect and abuse.

The Government of Kazakhstan is committed to reforming the child care system. Their legal framework for social protection of children is well developed to support reform in the system of special social services. To support the Ministry of Health and Social Development to implement these national policies, Keystone Human Services International and Keystone Moldova provided consultation to develop a long-term roadmap for service development.

Building on Keystone Moldova’s expertise and experience, an international team of consultants developed this roadmap based on existing data on children living in infant homes and medical social facilities, as well as the needs of the community. The team also supported regional authorities to ensure the sustainability of the reformed services.

Led by Dr. Ludmila Malcoci, Executive Director of Keystone Moldova, the team included Dr. Donald Wertlieb, President of the Partnership for Early Childhood Development and Disability Rights (PECDDR) and Professor Emeritus at Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University; Eugenia Veverita, an economist and expert in public finance management; and Dr. Anna Kudiyarova, Director of the Psychoanalytic Institute for Central Asia.

Over the course of a year, the team provided technical assistance to strengthen the data management system and develop a preliminary plan for transforming infant homes and medical social facilities for children with disabilities into a modern form of family-oriented care.

A reformed system of care for children ages 0-7 will reduce their risk of neglect, abuse, and violence and enhance their social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development. As communities become more inclusive, opportunities open for both the individuals and the rest of the community and everyone benefits.

Read the final report