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12.06.2006 | Yury Chumak

Centre for the Social and Psychological Rehabilitation of Children opens in Kharkiv


The creation of this centre was announced at a press conference on 7 June in the Kharkiv City Executive Committee by the new head of the Service for Minors of the Kharkiv City Council, Oleksandr Malko.

“We envisage that children and young people will be directed to the Centre to resolve all kinds of issues, from the child’s status where parents have their parental rights withdrawn, to being afraid to go home because they’ve received a bad mark”.

Premises have already been found for the Centre – a previously rented out kindergarten. After the changeover in lease is finalized, the building will be renovated and gradually begin functioning. The funding program for 2005 – 2006 envisages financing for the Centre amounting to 1 million 139 thousand UH, of which around 1 million will be spent on full restoration of the building.

The project involves the creation in the Centre of three units where children live, a unit for providing medical and psychological assistance, as well as a school unit. The plan is that the Centre will be able to take around 150 children at any one time.

According to Oleksandr Malko, the difference between the Centre for the Social and Psychological Rehabilitation of Children and traditional shelters for children is that a shelter provides temporary services for the children who arrive there – “fed, given shoes, and handed on”, whereas the Centre will help each child as long as the help is needed.

Malko cited disturbing statistics regarding abandoned children and vagrancy.

Over 4 months in 2006, in the course of 126 raids carried out by the City Service, 314 children were found who were not living at home, or, while having a home to go to, were playing truant from school and hanging about on the streets. Of these 60 were street kids living off begging, 22 were sniffing glue etc.  Of the 300 children in such circumstances, 47 were of pre-school age (under 7).

The reasons why the children had run away from their families, as shown by many years of experience in Ukraine, Oleksandr Malko stated, are:

-   conflict with their parents - 31%;

-   parents drinking - 28%;

-   conflict with other kids  - 36%;

-  violence in the family  - 52%.

In all the number comes to more than 100% because often these problems go together.

Malko did mention a certain degree of progress seen recently, Child crime in Kharkiv over the same four months of 2006, compared with the same period the year before, fell by 44.5%.

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