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09 Apr 2009
EveryChild has won another victory in the battle to keep children out of children’s homes in Ukraine. Partly thanks to a campaign run by EveryChild, the Ukrainian government has changed the law so that all possible options will be explored before a child is placed in a children’s home.
In former Soviet countries over 95% of children living in children homes have parents and often could have been supported to stay at home, or with extended family. Growing up in a large children’s home is disastrous for most children. They often end up in prison; get involved with drugs and prostitution and go on to abandon their own children.
The changes to the law will ensure that more emphasis will be placed on supporting parents who are at risk of abandoning their children because of poverty. In cases where the child is unable to stay with their parents, the new approach of assessing extended families could prevent hundreds of children being placed in large-scale institutions.
Zinaida Kyyanytsya, Deputy Director of Programmes, EveryChild was a participant on a working group which made recommendations for changes in the law:
"Using the new assessment mechanism the social worker considers not only the individual needs of the children but the family as a whole, within the context of the extended family and wider community. Needs assessment provides social workers with the data needed to make informed decisions with regard to improving the current situation in the family with the help of the community."