The 2021 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Day of General Discussion (CRC DGD), held at the UN in Geneva on September 16 and 17, focused on “Child Rights and Alternative Care.” In anticipation of this important event discussing children’s services, KHSI collaborated with SPOON, International Social Service General Secretariat, United Aid for Azerbaijan, and Shonaquip Social Enterprises to draft a collective statement. We recognize and affirm that all children should live in families. We strive to make this a reality through our family strengthening initiatives, developing community-based services, and advocacy at the national and international levels. We take a systems-change approach to ensure that children and families are members of inclusive communities.
Our joint statement includes insights from several advocates connected to Keystone Moldova who previously lived in residential institutions and were supported to move into more independent lives in the community. Marcel Lemnaru, a self-advocate associated with Keystone Moldova, spoke at the DGD about access to justice for children with disabilities in institutions. Marin Andronache, another Moldovan self-advocate, sits on the Children and Youth Advisory Committees for the CRC. The voices of people with lived experience are driving significant system change.