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Mussabalinova, Aigerim.pdf (2.25 MB)

The right of the child to be raised in the family: reflections on decision-making processes in child placement in Kazakhstan in the light of English experience

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posted on 2023-06-09, 22:19 authored by Aigerim Mussabalinova
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, reforms were introduced in many spheres in Kazakhstan. As part of the reforms, Kazakhstan’s social child care system has undergone some changes, including an overhaul of the relevant laws. However, not all the changes have been fully realised and accomplished. Most institutions, the attitudes of professionals, the approach to child placement and the child care system as a whole, remain almost the same as during the soviet period. It is the main contention of this thesis that the challenges faced by Kazakhstan in overhauling and updating its child care system could have been much more successfully managed, especially in the light of how such problems are addressed in other countries, such as England. The thesis investigates the historical and cultural background to the practice of institutionalising children in Kazakhstan, a procedure which was unknown to the nomadic Kazakh society before it became part of the Russian Empire and then the USSR. The thesis uses doctrinal and comparative analysis of relevant legislation and original qualitative research data from interviews with practitioners in Kazakhstan and England. It applies a Children’s Rights and a Children’s Developmental analysis to the research data to evaluate the Kazakhstani child care system. The study concludes by identifying particular areas of this system that require revision based on the principles of the UNCRC. In order to be able to make practical recommendations for Kazakhstan, relevant English law and practice were scrutinised in the context of meeting the best interests of the child with regard to family upbringing. Drawing upon a literature review of the development of the existing treatment of children in England and interview data from local social workers who work with families and children in need, the thesis emphasises the importance of self-reflection, self-critiques and self-learning in English practice. Bringing together discourses from above theories, Kazakhstani legislation and practice, the historical and cultural background of child care, and the possible lessons from English experience, the thesis argues for the deinstitutionalisation of children in Kazakhstan. It suggests that the state should review its child care system, including its legislation and practice. There is also a need for adequate human and financial resources, the recruitment of new foster families and engagement with society, in order to change attitudes towards children deprived of parental care. These improvements in Kazakhstan might contribute to the development of a sustainable child care system that truly operates in the best interests of the child.


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