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Child Protection Programme

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Child Protection Programme


Of Ukraine’s 8 million children, over 94,705 children lived in institutions (2012). The main reasons why parents abandon their children are family poverty, unemployment, declining family and moral values, alcoholism and drug use. Child abandonment can also be seen over the last decade among a growing number of children living and working on the streets.  Poverty puts children and young people at risk of being trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labour.

© UNICEF/2005/UKRA/01235/Pirozzi
A boy living at the Bila Tserkva Baby Home with 60 other children from 0 to 2 years old mostly abandoned.

The lack of opportunities and drug use lead young people into conflict with the law. Linkages between judicial, law enforcement and social structures are loose and the existing juvenile justice system does not prevent juvenile crime. Instead young people in conflict with the law often end up in prison without any support to re-integrate into society.

Action: Protecting children from abandonment, violence and abuse

UNICEF is working to protect children and women from exploitation, abuse and neglect by:

  • Providing technical assistance to improve the juvenile justice system and protect children in conflict with the law pursuant to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international standards.

  • Helping to elaborate and implement the develop social servicesreform of social service support to  to provide consultative psychological assistance tovulnerable families and  parents and children in crisis.

  • Establishing Mother and Child Centres to prevent mothers from abandoning their newborns. The programme serves as an early warning system to identify mothers who are at risk of leaving their babies after birth and provides support to the mother after the baby is born.

  • Assisting the government in their review of legislation and policies with regard to the institutionalisation of children.


Methods to prevent child abandonment in mother and child centres and maternity hospitals have been developed.

Three hundred social workers have been mobilised with UNICEF support the work of Mother and Child Centres in seven regions and at maternity hospitals/wards across the country, as crisis focal points whenever the risk of early abandonment occurs.

UNICEF has assisted government partners in reviewing the legal framework and methodological base to prevent and respond to domestic violence and violence against children. The review has resulted in recommendations and legal documents that will assist the State to fulfil its obligations towards women and children who are victims of domestic violence and abuse.
UNICEF has supported the development of a draft law on probation, including probation for juveniles in conflict with the law. UNICEF has also helped to draft regulations on Day Probation Centres in Kharkiv oblast.

Methodological recommendations to prepare juvenile offenders for their release from detention have been developed.

UNICEF has been instrumental in assisting the government to develop methodologies to assess the individual needs of children in institutions and develop their life long care plans. As a first step, care plans for 216 children in the Kyiv, Kherson and Khmelnytsky oblasts have been developed.



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