A survey conducted by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) in 2015 found that 11,788 children were living in 267 residential care institutions in five provinces alone, said a press release AKP received this afternoon.
This survey was conducted with support from UNICEF, USAID and the partners of the Partnership Programme for the Protection of Children (3PC) in Phnom Penh capital city and Siem Reap, Battambang, Preah Sihanouk and Kandal provinces, it pointed out.
In 2014, it indicated, only 139 residential care institutions were known to MoSVY in the five provinces (housing 7,545 children), indicating a 92 percent increase in the number of recorded institutions.
“The findings confirm our long-held concerns over an uncontrolled increase of residential care institutions in the country, putting the well-being and safety of children living in unmonitored institutions at risk,” said H.E. Vorng Saut, Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation.
“We conducted this survey as part of our effort to grasp the real scope of the proliferation of residential care institutions and to account for facilities where children reside to ensure adequate supervision and regular annual inspection,” he underlined.
Additionally, a total of 57 group homes, 20 transit homes, 11 pagodas and other religious buildings and 46 boarding schools housing children were recorded in those five provinces, said the press release, adding that a further 6,663 children were living in those facilities when the mapping was conducted.
Most of the residential care institutions were found to be providing long-term care, defined as more than six months, despite problems associated with keeping children in institutions for long periods of time, it said.
According to the press release, the mapping report of residential care institutions in the remaining 20 provinces in the country will be finalized and released during 2016.
MoSVY has also started the process of developing a National Action Plan for Improvement of Child Care since last October, with the target of reintegrating 30 percent of children from residential care back to their families and communities by the end of 2018. Provincial planning meetings are taking place in the five provinces of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kandal and Preah Sihanouk during the month of March to develop provincial operational plans based on the National Action Plan for Improvement of Child Care.