Damning report on use of “child-linked funding”
Over the last four years the number of children aged up to 17 has fallen by almost a million (8.2 million at the beginning of 2009). At the same time, the number of orphans and children deprived of parental care has increased from 97.8 thousand at the end of 2005 to 103.5 thousand at the end of 2008.
A Presidential Decree in 2005 instructed the Cabinet of Ministers to develop a mechanism for financing the cost of looking after orphans and children deprived of parental care regardless of how the care was organized on the principle of the money being linked to each child. There were also instructions to increase spending on looking after such children at a level not lower than two times the size established as minimum subsistence level for them.
From 2006 State subventions were allocated to local authority budgets to pay orphans social assistance of two times the minimum subsistence level and provide funding for parent – carers in family-type children’s homes and foster families.
In the Kyiv region subventions were used to carry out an experiment on child-linked funding under the main management of the Ministry for the Family, Youth and Sport.
In its report on the results of an audit, Ukraine’s Accounting Chamber notes that the Cabinet of Ministers and the Ministry for the Family, Youth and Sport did not ensure and timely and full implementation of measures to reform the system of social protection for orphans and children deprived of parent care through the principle of child-linked funding.
The introduction from 2006 of State social assistance of twice the minimum subsistence level for children in family type children’s homes and foster families, and from 2009 for children under a guardian or care made it possible to increase the number of children in a family form of arrangement. At the end of 2008 67 percent of orphans and children deprived of parent care were in these family-type arrangements.
The experiment in the Kyiv region lasted for three years and was suspended from 2009, without the results being generalized at State level. The Accounting Chamber criticizes the unsystematic and unjustified practice in determining the categories of children assigned social assistance. Some categories of orphans were assigned the social assistance at first, and then it was cancelled. Each year considerable amounts of allocated money were not used.
For example, payments, allocated in 2006, were suspended in 2007 for 619 children in school-orphanages. From January to March of that same year assistance was not given to all children involved in the experiment since the timeframe had been fixed from 1 April to 31 December 2007. This meant that around 2 thousand children in the Kyiv region did not receive around 3 million UAH.
The Accounting Chamber states at due to the lack of proper normative legal and organization back up, the Ministry for the Family, Youth and Sport in its measures of social protection for orphans and children deprived of parent care did not achieve the objective of ensuring identical material provisions regardless of the type of care.