In Focus: Keeping families together

Supporting the right of every child to grow up in a nurturing family environment

Alex and Emi with their pet duckling at their foster home in Romania.
UNICEF/UN063460/Vladimir Kostyak


UNICEF works to prevent the placement of children in institutions in Europe and Central Asia. No child should ever be placed in a large institution. No child should be placed in any alternative care setting simply because the family is poor or finds it difficult to access basic health services, social protection or education.

Given the devastating and potentially life-long impact of institutionalization at an early age, UNICEF advocates for an immediate end to the institutionalization of all children. We also promote and support the development of effective childcare systems that keep families together wherever possible.

As institutional care for children is replaced by community based services, the work to keep families safe and together can be seen as a gateway to the transformation of government social welfare systems across Europe and Central Asia. This will benefit every citizen, but particularly the most vulnerable children and their families.

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