Public Defender’s Recommendation on Situation in Small Group Homes

On March 28, 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Social Service Agency (LEPL) with regard to the situation in Tbilisi's small group home of the Chernovetsky Foundation.

The recommendation is based on the results of the monitoring conducted by the Center for Child’s Rights and the Special Preventive Group of the Public Defender's Office, which showed that the attitude between the caregivers and the juveniles is positive. The environment in the home is generally satisfactory, though problems were identified in certain directions.

One of the important problems is consideration of juveniles’ opinion and their engagement in the decision-making process. Other problems are the lack of access to services and absence of inclusiveness for children with disabilities.

The monitoring team members paid special attention to the 24-hour audio-video surveillance at home, which negatively impacts the emotional state of children and caregivers and violates the principle of bringing up a child in a family-like environment. The use of feedback and complaints procedures by children is also important. The anonymous box is under permanent video control and thus anonymity is not ensured.

Persistent audio-video surveillance and a strict regime are kind of psychological violence and create a stressful environment.

The correspondence[1] from the Social Service Agency (LEPL) in response to the Public Defender's recommendation makes it clear that the Didube-Chughureti Service Center of Tbilisi Social Service Center was charged with implementing the Public Defender's recommendations. Development of the mentioned process and the final results will be studied by the Center for Child's Rights of the Public Defender's Office.

Based on the abovementioned, the Public Defender of Georgia considers that children living in small group homes should be provided with services oriented to their best interests, respect for their rights and their engagement, for which special measures should be taken by the state.

[1] Social Service Agency (LEPL), N04/21676, 06.04.2017

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