The Hanoitimes - The first ever National Programme on Child Protection is being launched today by the Government of Vietnam. The 2011-2015 Programme sets clear objectives and gives direction to activities which will contribute to the creation of a safe and friendly environment for children, preventing and eliminating risks that cause harm.
“Together with the Prime Minister’s Decision 32 to develop social work as a profession, the National Programme on Child Protection will support the development of comprehensive child protection systems in the coming years,” said Jean Dupraz, UNICEF’s Deputy Representative in Vietnam .
While Vietnam has achieved impressive economic growth and social progress, there are still nearly 4.3 million children (18 percent of the population) who live in special circumstances, are vulnerable to extreme poverty, are victims of human trafficking, kidnapping, abuse, violence or injury, or in conflict with the law.
The National Programme on Child Protection will provide timely support, recovery and reintegration services for children in special circumstances, including abused and exploited children across the country. It aims to reduce the percentage of children with special needs to less than 5.5 percent, and provide care, recuperation and rehabilitation to 80 percent of such children by 2015. The Programme also aims to identify and provide early intervention to 70 percent of highly vulnerable children and establish a child protection service system in at least half of the provinces and cities across the country.
The Programme’s focus is on disadvantaged areas with a high number of children in need and at risk, including children from ethnic minorities. In addition, it identifies the role and responsibility of government line ministries, departments and local authorities to develop concrete plans to implement the Programme.
“Effective implementation would benefit from the establishment of a partnership group on child protection to coordinate the work of the Government and relevant stakeholders. UNICEF would be very interested to support the work of such a partnership group and would be happy to co-chair it,” said Dupraz.
The total planned budget for the Programme is VND1,756 billion (US$84 million), of which VND742 billion is expected to come from local budgets. Today’s launch is therefore accompanied by workshops for DOLISA leaders and child protection officers of all 63 provinces as well as relevant line ministries, mass and non-governmental organisations on effective planning, budgeting and monitoring of the Programme at sub-national level.
“The National Programme on Child Protection cannot be effectively implemented without the integration of child protection objectives and activities into provincial socio-economic development plans, with a regular budget line,” said Dupraz. “I would therefore like to encourage all provinces to follow the example of Quanh Ninh by allocating 0.5 percent or more of their annual budget for the care, protection and support of children in special circumstances.”
In summary, the National Programme on Child Protection has five focus areas: i) communication, education and social mobilization; ii) strengthening of volunteers and other staff working on child care and protection at all levels; iii) development of a child protection service system, including a child protection structure, social service centers, counseling centers and a community network of child protection; iv) development and scaling up of community-based models on care and support for children in special circumstances, especially orphans, abandoned children, children with disabilities, street children, sexually abused children and children and minors in conflict with the law; and v) improving the effectiveness of state management on child care and protection.