Ministry of Social Policy and UNICEF Launch a Project to Support Children Returning from Boarding Institutions to Their Families because of COVID-19
On 14 July 2020, the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine together with UNICEF and the Ukrainian Child Rights Network launched a project to support children who have returned from boarding institutions to their families because of quarantine restrictions.
The project primarily aims to strengthen the social protection of these families and help them to ensure proper care of their children. The project goals will be pursued through the strengthened capacity of social workers, assessment of situation of families and the direct provision of assistance to children and families based on their needs.
"The coronavirus has become a challenge and a test for the whole world. This is a test for the social services system as well, as it should help the people cope with the consequences of COVID-19 ," said Borys Lebedtsov, Deputy Minister of Social Policy.
"We will use this crisis to emerge stronger: to increase the capacity of social workers, to introduce global best practices and to take another step towards deinstitutionalization and the reunification of children with their families," said Lebedtsov.
During the next six months, project experts will strengthen the capacities of social workers to monitor the situation of each child returned to the biological family, assessing their needs, and responding to those needs, when possible.. A detailed analysis of situation of 5000 families in 5 regions of Ukraine will help to elaborate a roadmap to help each family at risk with children who have returned from boarding institutions . The project will also provide social workers with personal protective equipment to ensure their visits to families during the pandemic are safe.
The project will cover five regions of Ukraine: Dnipropetrovsk, Volyn, Mykolaiv, Poltava and Kharkiv. The criteria for selecting regions included the number of children returned to their families from institutional settings.
"Around 42,000 children, including children with disabilities, from boarding institutions all over Ukraine, have returned to their families. These children and their families need special attention and support now. By joining our forces and strengthening the child protection system, we strive to make all children feel protected, and have access to quality education and to basic social services and protection, regardless of their families' capabilities." said Laura Bill, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Ukraine.
The lessons learned within this e project will help to prevent further institutionalization of children throughout the country and to support family reintegration of children, where possible. The project also aims to prepare recommendations for five regional de-institutionalization plans to accelerate the implementation and, in general, will contribute to the the de-institutionalization reform in Ukraine
"For us, the Ukrainian Child Rights Network, this project is a professional challenge. It is important to identify the real reasons why children are referred to boarding institutions, and find opportunities for communities to support families in keeping their children,as well as support social workers and children's services in their daily work " said Daria Kasyanova, Head of the Board of the Ukrainian Child Rights Network.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.