Minister of Labor and Social Protection S.Chinzorig met with Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to Mongolia Alex Heikens on Monday to discuss government measures related to children’s rights and protection.
During the meeting, Minister S.Chinzorig stated that the government is focusing to deal with some challenging issues regarding children rights, especially child abuse and protection. He noted that as the 2017 state budget was amended, all Mongolian children between the ages of zero and 18 (1,043,000 in total) are receiving the monthly child money allowance of 20,000 MNT until the end of this year, and Parliament has agreed to implement more projects and programs for child protection.
The minister told Heikens that as the number of people on food stamps doubled and its budget was increased by 20 percent in the 2018 state budget, the government wishes to collaborate with UNICEF on the selection of food stamp recipients. Minister S.Chinzorig pointed out that under the next year’s state budget, starting January, 135,000 nursing mothers taking care of their children between the ages of zero and three will be receiving a monthly welfare of 50,000 MNT, 165,000 single mothers and fathers with three or more children between the ages of zero and 18 will also receive a state welfare of 240,000 MNT every season. He added that the government considers the program as a way to promote population growth rather than welfare as the money will help parents buy food, clothing, and school supplies for their children.
The Social Protection Minister emphasized that as there are new services to improve child rights and protection, the ministry is pleased with UNICEF’s initiatives regarding child protection improvement, and asked the UNICEF delegation to provide technical assistance.
Heikens stressed that UNICEF Mongolia recommends that there should be a greater focus on dealing with issues related to child protection in local areas, on issues such as child abuse. He underlined that focusing on improving parental education and improving the school environment will be of importance to preventing child abuse.
The UNICEF Resident Representative noted that government and non-government organizations should provide assistance and recommendations to orphanages to improve their operations, and that UNICEF Mongolia will put forward a project or program to address the issue.
At the end of the meeting, the sides agreed that improving the quality of childcare service is the highest priority rather than provision of facilities for childcare services.