UNICEF is supporting governments in Eastern and Central Europe and Central Asia to develop national child protection systems that effectively prevent and respond to violence, family separation and detention, including among most vulnerable groups. In particular, UNICEF supports child care reforms aiming at enforcing the right of children to live in a family environment. Ten years of complex reforms in the social sector were not translated into results for children as the rate of children placed in formal care has not declined during the last decade. In order to share a joint vision that every child must grow up in a nurturing family environment, UNICEF and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights launched at the European Parliament in July 2011a call to action to give priority to end the placement of children under three in institutions and prevent the separation of children from their families. At the end of 2012, 20 governments made commitments to adopt national operational plans for preventing the placement of children below three years in formal care. One year later, results can start to be identified and measured. Due primarily to the prompt and effective efforts of the governments of Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Serbia and Turkey, it is estimated that the number of children below three years in institutional care decreased by 10 per cent in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia by the end of 2013. This was achieved through diversified approaches described here.

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