Trialing Gatekeeping Systems in Azerbaijan

United Aid for Azerbaijan (UAFA)

On 29 March 2006, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliev, signed the State Program on De-Institutionalisation and Alternative Care Services. This program comes at a time when Azerbaijan’s economy is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and many other related reforms are under-way. There simply is no excuse today to keep children in institutionalized care when alternatives can be developed and families supported through improved wealth re-distribution systems.

The main goal of the Program is ‘to provide the formation and effective operation of the mechanisms of placing children in families and organizing alternative care to child institutions taking into consideration the importance of the child’s upbringing in the family environment – in the atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding for the holistic and harmonious development of the child’s personality according to the Convention on Child’s Rights.’

The implementation of de-institutionalization stipulates appropriate actions in the following priority directions:

  • taking preventive measures against the placement of children in child institutions and reducing gradually the number of children in state institutions on the basis of poverty reduction and improvement of social and economic conditions in the country;

  • improving the network of child institutions and boarding-type child institutions,

  • transferring state child institutions into family-based support centers;

  • creating the system of alternative services (community and family-based services, guardianship, trusteeship, fostering, adoption);

  • implementing mechanisms of expanding and stimulating the opportunities of giving children to families (biological or alternative);

  • creating the system of reorientation of the child institution staff and training of social workers.