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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2004 Belarus: Evaluation of the project on deinstitutionalisation and activities related to support of families and alternative placement of children deprived of parental care in the Republic of Belarus during 1999-2004

Executive summary


The UNICEF project on deinstitutionalisation and activities related to the support of families and alternative placement of children deprived of parental care in the Republic of Belarus during 1999-2004 had the following goals: 1) establishing new forms of placement of orphaned children (foster families and a patronage education system), and 2) establishing a network of institutions for the prevention of social orphanhood and psychological-pedagogical and socio-pedagogical follow-up of the families fostering children.

The main partner in the project was the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus. The main strategy was aimed at training personnel for the purpose of the organisation and performance of such activities, including readiness of different-level specialists to introduce new forms of child placement, and the development of the regulatory and legal frameworks needed to use innovations in practice. In parallel, the material and technical facilities of the institutions were created and enhanced. In the course of activities within the project on deinstitutionalisation, the priorities and the basic activities were modified, depending on the identified practical problems.

Financial resources of UNICEF were used to organise project seminars and roundtables to elaborate deinstitutionalisation mechanisms, develop regulatory documents, train personnel and provide methodological support in their activities, conduct monitoring and surveys, and organise material and technical facilities for new institutions. The total project budget in 1999–2003 was USD 213,222.76.


The main objective of the evaluation is to evaluate the project on deinstitutionalisation implemented by UNICEF, together with the Ministry of Education, during 1999-2004, based on the following criteria: compliance of the project goals and tasks with the needs of the country, global priorities, requirements of persons who are responsible for the fulfilment of obligations on children left without parental care, as well as interests and rights of children; ensuring efficiency of the project in terms of fulfilment of the set tasks and achievement of the planned outcomes; ensuring of efficiency of the project in terms of resources used to achieve the set tasks; impact (positive or adverse long-term effect) of the project on the target groups; sustainability of the project outcomes and further activities of the partners after the completion of the main funding by UNICEF.

By now, the first sustainable outcomes of the project have been obtained; therefore, it is advisable to evaluate the achievements and problems, and to identify their causes so as to determine future lines for the development of the project on deinstitutionalisation.


The project was evaluated in 6 Oblasts of Belarus: Brest, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno, Minsk and Mogilev Oblasts, and in the City of Minsk. The evaluation methodology was based on: analysis of the respective state legislative, regulatory and legal frames, action plans, statistics, the results of monitoring and research within the UNICEF project, the reports provided by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus; organisation of focus groups including various categories of specialists; organisation of roundtables devoted to inter-departmental interaction involving representatives of all departments dealing with the prevention of social orphanage; distribution and analysis of special questionnaires among foster parents; and interviews among managers at the governmental and municipal levels.

Findings and Conclusions:

Direct outcomes of the project at the time of evaluation were:

  • Establishment of the network of institutions for the prevention of social orphanhood and for follow-up of family forms of placement of orphaned children (31 socio-pedagogical centres and 95 social shelters for children).
  • Development of the regulatory and legal frames for the implementation of the policy on deinstitutionalisation of orphaned children.
  • Availability of trained specialists (according to the estimates based on the reports provided by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus, about 3000 specialists were trained during the project period) and of methodological and material support for their activities.

Socially important outcomes of the project include:

  • Increase in the number of children placed into families (in 2003, in the majority of the regions, 60% to 70% of children deprived of parental care were placed into families).
  • Reduced inflow of children to primary schools of boarding institutions for orphaned children (for example, in Minsk Oblast, only one first grade was opened in one of eight boarding schools for children, while other schools did not have first grade classes) by placing pre-school children into families.
  • Decreased number of cases when parents are deprived of parental rights, owing to early identification of problematic families and professional work with crisis and problematic families (for example, in Brest Oblast, 61% of children who have passed through the process of rehabilitation in shelters have been returned to their biological families).
  • Sustainable development of the foster families (growing number of children in foster families: there were no such families in 1999, while as of 1 January 2004, there were 1,397 foster families in the country with 1,906 children).
  • Cooperation between concerned departments, institutions and organisations at the municipal and regional levels in the field of the organisation of prevention of social orphanage.

Some problematic fields have been identified during project implementation. Despite all efforts to introduce patronage education as a form similar to fostering, the patronage institution has not been developed in Belarus. The boarding institutions for children, in fact, do not apply the main principle of their work – they should be institutions for temporary placement of children deprived of parental care pending their placement to families for rearing. There is no system for training of graduates for independent life and for their follow-up after they leave boarding institutions.


  • Further development of alternative forms of family placement of orphaned children, above all, through the establishment of a system of services for patronage education.

  • Establishment of a motivating system of fees, preferences and compensations for foster families and national adoptive parents.

  • Establishment of a system for follow-up of children after they leave boarding institutions for children, taking into account inter-departmental cooperation.

  • Development of a plan of action for the realignment of boarding institutions for children and advanced training of specialists working in such institutions.

  • Organisation of work with mass media to develop positive public opinion about family placement of children deprived of parental care.

  • Enhancement of work for early identification of problematic families and development of inter-departmental cooperation at all levels of authority.

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