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Children (0-18) comprise 25% of Georgia’s population. Child mortality is reducing ; pre-school access is increasing and a 2010 survey showed 63% of five-year-olds attending. Additionally, 99% of girls and 95% boys attend primary school; 94% enrol in secondary school. 

System reform is modernising education: schools are governed by Boards with financial management authority; there are regional resource centres to support schools/teachers; teacher training/development persists; a modern national curriculum exists and a national entity has eliminated university entrance examination corruption; school infrastructure improvement continues.

It is understood that more families now have access to improved water sources than in the past; it is documented that fewer children are in State-run institutions; also, it is known that more children are being registered at birth (all relative to past decades). Civil society is active in advocating and caring for the most vulnerable children. Bilateral and multi-lateral governmental agencies have contributed to advancing the child rights agenda. In 2010 government adopted child protection referral procedures, mandating police, schools and clinics/hospital to refer violence and abuse cases to statutory social workers for action.

Harmful traditional practices

Other than the custom of early marriage, particularly in the Azeri minority population, Georgian children are not generally affected by harmful traditional practices, but a 2007 study on violence against children showed these types of violence reported by children in different settings:

Children without appropriate care and children on the move

A 2008-2011 national Child Action Plan (CAP) underpins Georgia’s Ministry of Labour Health and Social Affairs (MoLSHA) child welfare reform. A two-year Child Care Reform Directions plan outlines expedited CAP goals, starting with accelerated deinstitutionalization through family reunification, strengthened foster care, small group homes creation and services preventing family separation. Now the number of institutions is 18 (vs. 46 in 2005); children in large institutional care number 915 (vs. 4,100). SC is a key partner in comprehensively assessing children in institutions for alternative care. By August 2011, 360 children/families were assessed and 97 family reunifications were recommended to Guardianship and Care Panel for review and approval; this process will continue until all 18 remaining institutions are closed.

Emergency situations and children

Conflicts make ±350,000 ethnic Georgians (±56,000 children), internally displaced (IDP) in Georgia. Many children have had IDP status since birth. This status has limited benefits (cash, some health care) and disadvantages (discrimination; poor housing; limited socioeconomic opportunities) so Georgia’s government struggles with issues of IDP equity and opportunity; issues for children/youth are access to quality education, health care and being heard.

Child Labour

One outdated study reports 30% of children working 4+ hours/day (paid, unpaid). Another report shows boys working in paid activities and girls in non-paid ones. NGOs report that large rural families are likely to keep daughters away from school for household chores, including child care. Separately, boys’ wage-earning activities in vulnerable families throughout the country lead to their school non-attendance and dropout.

Corporal Punishment

In 2011, violence against children was highlighted when a mother beat her 5-year-old to death. Neighbours knew of the abuse but none reported it to authorities. Domestic violence in Georgia is alarmingly high. There are laws against violence, abuse and neglect of children but no law explicitly prohibits household corporal punishment, and corporal punishment is schools is known to be widespread and accepted. (57)

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