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18.09.2007

Catastrophic rise in the number of children in institutions

   

One percent of all Ukrainian children are in children’s homes. In encouraging family-style children’s homes and foster homes, the government is only finding places for a small number of orphans, and is giving the green light to children becoming a business..

In 2004 out of 6,000 children registered as available for adoption, 4,000 found new families while in 2005 out of 6,500 the figure was 3,529.  However in 2006 out of 6916 children only 2,569 found a new home. This is a little more than 6% of all Ukrainian children growing up without a family (there are approximately 40 thousand, but the majority are for various reasons not presently up for adoption).

Victoria Velichko, Head of the Board of the Association for Equal Opportunities estimates that if the present trend continues, in 2007 there will be 9,304 children up for adoption, and only 2,880 adopted.

Deputy Prime Minister on Humanitarian Policy Dmytro Tabachnyk states: “There is already an epidemic of children growing up without families”

The government has decided to encourage Ukrainians to take abandoned children under their care with material incentives for foster families and family-style children’s home (in which a child, unlike in the case of adoption, does not become an official member of the family with inheritance rights). In the first instance, families take the children into their own home, in the second, they are allocated extra accommodation.

Since 2006 both types of families are paid for bringing up the children in their care. The State pays between 1.2 thousand to 7 thousand UAH a month. Quite a number of people willing to take on this virtuous and at the same time profitable task have been found and they are now “improving” the statistics. While in 2005 131 children were found foster homes, in 2006 the number was already 1,302, Yury Pavlenko, the former head of the Ministry for Family, Youth and Sport, and presently the head of the Zhytomyr Regional Administration.

However, according to analysts, children’s problems are only partially resolved through alternative forms of family care. For the foster parents the child can at times simply be a form of earning money, they are not well cared for and they don’t lose their orphan status.

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