International Conference Explores Armenia’s Goal to Close Institutions

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Several years ago, the Armenian government began a process of deinstitutionalization, which involved substantially reducing the number of publically-run orphanages, residential schools, and night boarding facilities in favor of placing children in home-based care (with a biological relative or in a foster or adoptive placement). In April 2016, the Human Rights Watch reported that there were nearly 3,700 Armenian children living in residential institutions, and 90% of these children had at least one living parent. Many children were placed in public care because they had a disability and needed extra medical and educational assistance. These children’s special needs made it harder for the Armenian government to reunify them with their biological families or adoptive families, due to the fact that homes and communities struggle to provide the resources and support services these children need.

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