196. The problem of the poverty among children has much greater adverse consequences for society than does adult poverty. The “New Generation” state program on the rights of the child was developed to address the issues of alarming “hidden dropout” rates from schools and a rising number of working children and children without family care.
197. The main issues hindering effective eradication of poverty among children are the following:
· Inadequate legislation. There are certain groups of children who are not covered by existing legislative support. These are neglected children living in state institutions and orphanages, graduates of such institutions (including specialized institutions), juvenile delinquents after serving terms of detention and underage convicts on parole.
· Absence of a state agency dealing with family and children affairs. There is an absence of a holistic approach in addressing the issue of poverty among children and child neglect. In part, this function is carried out by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (raids to identify neglected children, sending children to their homes via state distribution centers), the Ministry of Education and Culture (guardianship and custody, school attendance), the Commission on Affairs of the Underaged, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection (payment of benefits and social pensions). A post of inspector for the affairs of the underaged has been eliminated.
· Lack of effective monitoring of children and families from “risk groups”. Various agencies provide inconsistent data on the number of children from “risk groups”. The reported number of neglected children varies from 2,000 to 15,000. Information provided by various agencies on the “hidden dropout” rate of children of school age varies from 10 to 20 times.
· Absence of a special budget for children. The unified monthly benefits for indigent families and individuals are allocated without consideration of the number of children in the family. It is hardly possible to carry out preventive measures in families and eliminate child neglect without allocating separate items of budget funding directed at the support and development of children.
198. The main goal in this area is to ensure support and development of children. In this connection, the main priority measures are the following:
· Development of the Unified Code on Children.
· Formation of a special targeted program-based budget for child affairs on all levels.
· Establishment of district-level services for support of families and children; training and retraining of social workers. (Grants have been provided by international organizations for establishment of services in two pilot districts, Issyk-Ata district in the Chui region and Jumgal district in the Naryn region. In two other districts these services are being established as an additional condition of the joint projects.)
· Establishment of a national database on social identification in order to provide credible information on families and children from the “risk groups.”
199. Stabilization strategy envisages self-support of families and support for particular categories of children outside the families as well as children in families who do not have the opportunity for self-development. This is to be done with the help of Family and Children Support Services, guidance and monitoring of families, and through provision of children with accessible (including free) education and health services. Children of problem families (violence, alcoholism, drug addiction) are supervised by social workers and, when deemed necessary, are taken into state custody. In such cases, support (daycare and 24-hour mini kindergartens, provision of food and clothing in schools, targeted humanitarian aid) is directed mainly at the child, rather than the family. According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children without families also have the right to a family upbringing. A network of family children’s homes is provided to address this. In exceptional cases, adolescents may be assigned to boarding-type institutions with compulsory vocational training. Vocational technical schools around the Republic should also be used for this purpose.
200. The development strategy provides greater involvement of disadvantaged families and children in poverty reduction activities. In this area, the strategy engages peer-to-peer methods, self-support groups, children’s organizations, and public organizations. In the long run, this approach helps to raise public responsibility for each child without involvement of state agencies.