Please continue your donations either direct to FAR- Fund for Armenian Relief or via our charity volunteers. We distribute among 8 charities. We must keep these programs strong for the children of Armenia they are the future. Please NOTE: These Foster Families will not be arrested or intimidated as the Foster Families in the Republic of Georgia were. We KNOW who paid the police to do this and it will not happen in Armenia.
According to director Mira Antonyan, very few children in Armenian orphanages are actually parentless, orphans. Rather, they are victims of abuse and abandonment. Until recently, the government’s approach has been to send these children to orphanages. The center for Child Support offers an alternative to this long withstanding practice. They offer a child-focused approach that aims to heal and rehabilitate children. They work with families, with the hope that many of the children in their temporary shelter can eventually return to their own homes. Antonyan said, “65% of its cases are reunited with their families.” In cases where family reunification is not possible, they place children with foster families. Another service that they offer is an abuse hotline. Anyone who has witnessed or suspects abuse, can report their concerns to the center. Its staff is ready to both reach out to and receive children in its facilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There are quite a few obstacles that stand in its way; Armenia’s fledgling foster care system, for one. About “300 families are waiting to receive children,” said Antonyan, yet the government is unable to compensate them for child-care expenses. Armenia’s social safety nets like welfare, Medicaid, and non-profit social service agencies are in their most rudimentary stages, if they exist at all. Couple the virtual absence of such safety nets with widespread unemployment, and the root of the problem continues to fester. Many families cannot adequately support their children. These are the circumstances that produce the social orphans sitting in the child support center, asserts Antonyan. The solution she declares is “supporting vulnerable families,” which the current economy and government cannot adequately do.
Among the centers most immediate needs are mental health and social work professionals who can support the center’s staff and the children they serve. The ACYOA is currently forming a committee to support FAR’s Child Support Center. They will be spending the next few months creating and implementing a plan of action.