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26.02.2007

The Money is not reaching children in need through officials’ mismanagement

   

Some of the hard-hitting criticism of attempts ineptly managed to provide decent conditions for orphans and children deprived of parental care issued recently by the Ukrainian Accounting Chamber.

The demographic situation in Ukraine remains serious. Whereas in 1991 there were 13.2 million children under the age of 17, in 2005 this figure had fallen to 9 million. There had also been a noticeable increase in the number of children either orphaned or deprived of parental care. At the beginning of last year there were 97.8 thousand such children, of whom 40 percent were in orphanages.

In order to improve social protection of orphans and children without parental care priorities in State policy were changed with the main objective becoming the safeguarding of a child’s right to grow up in a family environment through adoption, foster care or through care in family-type children’s homes.

The Law “On ensuring the organizational and legal conditions for the social protection of orphaned children and children deprived of parental care” which came into force on 2 February 2005 stressed the need for suitable material provisions regardless of the form of care involved. However the reform of the system of social protection was begun without the Government passing a general strategy and without setting out key stages. As a result, the implementation in 2006 of a new mechanism for financing on the principle “the money is linked to the child” took place unsystematically, without the appropriate normative-legal and organizational provisions. This has in turn adversely affected the implementation of the relevant budgetary programmes on social protection for orphaned children and children deprived of parental care which were first approved in the State Budget for 2006.

80 percent of the State funding, or over 45 million UH, allocated for improving the said social protection, remained unused. At the same time, the number of children cared for in family-type children’s homes and foster families increased during the year by 1,302 children, whereas the planned increase, allowed for in the budget, was by 2,309 children.

Within the framework of an experiment in the Kyiv region on allocating and paying State social assistance on the principle “the money is linked to the child”, only 77 percent of the children entitled to such assistance actually received it. During 2006 190 children, or 12 percent of the overall number of children in institutions on 1 January 2006 were transferred from orphanages to families, with 144 of these children under care.

The Ministry of Family, Youth and Sport  and the Kyiv Regional Administration failed to adequately organize the experiment in 2006. According to a Decree only passed on 12 July 2006, the experiment was intended to run from 1 June to 31 December, while State funding had been allocated from February. With the implementation of State social assistance from July, payments for this only began in October. The experiment was begun without arranging in advance a new mechanism for financial provisions this resulting in the objective of providing equal funding regardless of the form of care not being achieved.

Although the experiment has been continued into 2007 and the State has allocated a further 25 million UH for this, the Accounting Chamber believes it to be of little effect unless the objectives are clearly defined and organizational and legal conditions established.

The auditors also established that in violation of Article 13 of the Law “On ensuring the organizational and legal conditions for the social protection of orphaned children and children deprived of parental care”, the Ministry of Family, Youth and Sport had not created a database of orphans and children deprived of parental care, with this hampering measures for providing the children with social protection. This was firstly connected with finding places for children, improving statistical recording, providing justified plans and allocating assistance payments. Nor was the issue regulating of acquiring premises for family-type children’s home, and setting these up, with this also hampering the development of such types of care. The Ministry’s inadequate organizational and legal provision during 2005 and 2006 of measures for the social protection of orphaned children and children deprived of parental care obstructed the implementation of the programme of social protection at State level and the enjoyment by the children of their right to family care.

The Accounting Chamber’s report, with a suggestion that it be taken into account when improving legislation on social protection for the children in question, has been sent to the Cabinet of Ministers and  the  Ministry of Family, Youth and Sport for the infringements and shortcomings identified to be eliminated.

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