The Ukraine – Russia war continues to horrify the world. The already tough situation with orphans and other at-risk children residing in Ukraine is further deteriorating by each day. Our expert team has visited most of the existing orphanages, rehabilitation centers, shelters, boarding schools in various regions of Ukraine. Ukrainian children deserve a better life than what we saw. UNICEF and local child care experts are in agreement that further development of foster families and family type homes (FTHs) care would play an important role in improving the status of orphans and other at-risk children in Ukraine. Our program continues to monitor status with orphans and other at-risk children in Ukraine and offers a mechanism of relief and support for today’s Ukrainian orphans and other children in need through the individual child sponsorship program to give potential sponsors an opportunity to give a present for upcoming Christmas (celebrated in Ukraine on January 7). Please visit: https://helpchildreninukraine.org
To understand how complicated the process with foster families formation in Ukraine is, let us give you one example: many bureaucrats, who professional parents dealt with during FTH and FF registration ask the applying foster care candidates: “why do you need all this, aren’t your own children enough?” We see a lack of understanding of UN supported need for any child to live in a family among all levels of government workers in Ukraine. Officials and the public must be better educated as to the advantages of family upbringing of children and understand there is no alternative to an atmosphere of loving family for a child to become a functional adult. All of the FTH parents I have met assert that there is great potential to find parents to form FTHs and FFs to raise orphans in families, but financial support for this work is crucial at this stage. Some FTH parents asserted that lack of positive public opinion is among the major difficulties in FTH development.
Another major problem in foster care in Ukraine is the burn out of professional parents who have not been trained properly or had not understood the importance of their work and the level of commitment expected from them. Thus, the importance of proper selection, training and other preparation of professional families is emphasized throughout the region. Many FHT/FF candidates fail or drop out during training courses. The families which were successful in passing the training course said that the course was far from perfect, delivered by government officials who themselves did not understand what was involved in taking up to 10 children to their home, some of whom may have different levels of mental or physical retardation, history of abuse, life on the streets, etc. This is just one example how local officials, who were considered experts in deinstitutionalization reform, tried to “tick off” the training requirement posed onto them by the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine.
We continue to monitor the development with FF and FTHs in Ukraine and will provide updates in future articles.