Orphans and other at-risk children who wind up in Ukrainian orphanages continue to suffer from neglect. The war in Ukraine has significantly worsened the situation with orphans and showed how deep the institutionalization problems are in Ukraine and the urgent need to remorm it. Please consider supporting children who are still in Ukraine today through our program of individual child sponsorship: https://helpchildreninukraine.org/
The developed world has restructured their orphanage system decades ago and the vast majority of orphans are cared for in professional family settings or are adopted. In Great Britain, for instance, less than 2% of orphans are raised in institutions. Understanding the drawbacks of institutionalization Ukrainian Presidents during the past 17 years have pushed the government to boost the efforts to move children away from orphanages. However, this process has already proved extremely difficult. Governmental officials, NGO leaders, foster families (FFs) and family type homes (FTHs) in Ukrainian regions also confirm that restructuring of orphanages is a VERY painful process in the regions and will take quite some time. Local officials and the general public must understand the institutionalization consequences and the necessity of restructuring processes to allow compromises from all parties. One major reason local bureaucrats do not want to promote FTHs is because FTH parents become strong advocates of their children demanding housing and other rights for FTH graduates.
While in orphanages nobody really cares for the child after the s/he leaves the premises (virtually all orphanage directors do not know about the destiny of the child several months after graduation), FTH parents appear to continue the relationship with their graduates for years to come. The most an orphanage director would do to help a graduate is write a letter to the Chief of District (Rayon) Administration the child is from (and theoretically comes back to) warning about the child’s return asking to provide at least temporary housing and job placement. However, experience shows that such letters are easily ignored as the majority of graduates do not return to the towns and villages they are registered in/had come from. And even those that do either do not know about their rights or can’t enforce them.
An important component that should bolster moving children from orphanages to families is the economic efficacy of FTHs and FFs. Back in 2002 the Ukrainian Institute of Social Research has released a calculation proving such efficiency – – the funds allocated to keep a child in a foster family/FHT depend on the age of the child and were then calculated as follows: the child under 3 y.o. – 317 Ukrainian Hrn (1 USD equals 30 hryvnas)., child from 3 to 7 y.o. – 265 Hrn, child from 7 to 16 y.o. – 297 Hrn. In 2005 allocation per child was raised to about 450 – 500 Hrn/month and later to over 1,000 hrn/month. Nobody questions the fact that keeping an orphan in FTH or FF is economically more efficient for the government. The estimations as to keeping a child in an institution have varied due to difficulty to calculate orphanages’ expenses for utilities, building repairs and other expenses that come from different budget line items. The “all inclusive” estimation of Ukrainian Institute of Social Research of 2002 was at approximately 720 Hrn./month (including expenses for up keeping the buildings, utilities, etc.,).
We continue to monitor and support orphans and other the most disadvantaged children in Ukraine through a personal sponsorship program, please consider volunteering or partnering with us!