Skopje, 20 June, 2007 - Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Country

Skopje, 12 December 2007 – At a press conference the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Norwegian Embassy launched a new media
campaign to support the process of deinstitutionalization of children deprived of parental care.
“Every child has the right to grow up in a family. No matter how good an institution is, it can never be
better than a caring family.” said Ms. Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Country Representative. “There is no
reason why a child should be placed in an institution. This is unacceptable.”
A new National Child Care Strategy for De-institutionalization is currently being finalized. The
strategy outlines the Government’s commitment to develop standards of care to protect children from
all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation while in the care of their parents, legal guardians, foster
parents or public institutions.
In parallel to the finalization of the strategy, family and community based services as an alternative to
placement in institutions have been strengthened. A small group home which will be operational in
January 2008 in Berovo will provide care in a community based home environment for five to eight
children. This alternative form of care will serve as a model for ensuring children deprived of parental
care grow up in a family environment.
Notes to the Editor:
Since 2000 UNICEF has been actively involved in the process of de-institutionalization working
closely with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and other international and national partners.
UNICEF has so far helped the process through capacity building of social workers and other experts
working with children in institutions or at risk of institutionalization; establishment of day care centers
and small group homes; provision of equipment and training for staff and support to strengthen the
foster system.
The media campaign is a joint effort between the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and UNICEF
with financial assistance from the Norwegian Government and UNICEF Skopje Office.
For further information please contact:
Suzie Pappas, UNICEF Communication Officer (075 629325)