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A worrisome U-turn on ending the institutionalisation of children in Ukraine

Despite political commitments, Ukraine remains one of the countries in Europe with the highest rate of child institutionalisation, with an estimated 100,000 children living in various forms of institutions including baby homes for children 0-4 years old.

In June 2021, the Ukrainian Government adopted amendments to the National Strategy for Reforming the System of Institutional Care and Upbringing of Children for 2017-2026.

Special boarding schools, education and rehabilitation centres and sanatorium boarding schools are excluded from the reform. This leaves behind more than 50.000 children and effectively legitimises discrimination based on disability and (their) needs for individualised support.

Eurochild co-signed a joint statement calling on the Ukrainian government to:

  • Demonstrate strong political will to reform child protection and care systems, to ensure the protection of children’s right to family life and work towards ending the institutionalisation of all children;
  • Immediately repeal the order ‘On amendments to the National Strategy for Reforming the System of Institutional Care and Upbringing of Children for 2017-2026’, and ensure the continuation of the care reform, for all groups of children and all types of institutions regardless of their size;
  • Prioritise the development of family support and child protection services at community level
  • Enforce the legal ban on the placement of young children in baby homes and other institutions and invest resources in early childhood intervention and development.

Read the full statement by Eurochild, Hope and Homes for Children, Lumos, SOS Children’s Villages, Save the Children, Disability Rights International, Validity Foundation and ENIL