Public Defender Visits Ninotsminda Orphanage

On June 28, 2021, the Public Defender of Georgia visited the Ninotsminda Orphanage. During the visit, the Public Defender met with the head of the orphanage, as well as children, and inspected the facility. As part of the monitoring, representatives of the Public Defender's Office examined the documents of the orphanage and talked to children.

"Of course, they had some alienation, false perceptions and fears, because they have heard almost nothing good about us. We had our first meeting today and, naturally, there would be a barrier," the Public Defender said, noting that more thorough, lengthy visits would be made in the future, as there was a lot of work to be done.

As a result of the visit, a number of challenges have been identified both in terms of producing the documentation of the facility and its beneficiaries, as well as assessing and satisfying the individual needs of the minors. In addition, representatives of the Public Defender's Office, taking into account the wishes of the children, met with the minors living in the orphanage together with a psychologist. The need for additional work with children and the involvement of a psychologist was made clear during the meetings.

Currently, one adult and fifteen minor beneficiaries live in the orphanage. The social workers of the State Care Agency visit the institution on a regular basis and assess the needs of the beneficiaries, including their return to their biological families and, in case the above is impossible, their transfer to alternative care. The Public Defender will continue to closely monitor and evaluate this process.

At the end of the visit, a concluding meeting was held with the head of the orphanage, where the problematic issues identified as a result of the initial study were discussed, on the basis of which, the management of the institution was given a number of recommendations, including to study the health and psycho-emotional condition of the minors and to satisfy their needs in this regard, to change the upbringing method and to put the documentation in order. During the meeting, the Archbishop of Bodbe, Bishop Jacob expressed his full readiness to cooperate with the Public Defender and to take into account the recommendations.

The Public Defender’s Office plans to again visit the Ninotsminda orphanage in the near future to fully study the situation there, to assess the needs of the minors and to monitor the deinstitutionalization process.

The Public Defender welcomes the readiness of the management of the orphanage to ensure the smooth implementation of the activities of the Public Defender in the institution and to implement the recommendations developed on the basis of the above.

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