With the “Leave No Child Alone” campaign, over 1,000 Ukrainian families have been formed; over 21,000 people have offered to host the kids.
Before the war, over 90,000 children were placed in institutions, the highest number in Europe.
Thanks to a campaign by UNICEF and its partners, more than a thousand Ukrainian families have been trained in how to welcome children without parental care. They are among the more than 21,000 people who have used @dytyna_ne_sama_bot Telegram bot by offering to host the kids since the start of the “Leave No Child Alone” campaign in March, while other families will start training in July .
The selected families met with psychologists, teachers and specialists working in the social sector to learn the tools to support adaptation, reception methods and teaching of temporarily admitted children.
Millions of children have been deeply affected by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, many of whom have been separated from their families and exposed to deeply traumatic events. These children have an urgent need for safety, stability, child protection services and psychosocial support, especially those who are unaccompanied or who have been separated from their families.
The “Leave No Child Alone” campaign was launched by the President of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights and Rehabilitation of Children, the Office of the President of Ukraine together with UNICEF and the Ministry of Social Policy.
“This huge number of people who are willing to give hospitality to a child is really impressive,” said Daria Herasimchuk, President of Ukraine’s Commissioner for the Rights of the Child and the Rehabilitation of Children. “It is an important step towards public understanding that a child should grow up in a family, not in an institution. I would like to thank all those who have expressed a desire to host a child, and for those who have not yet been called, I would like to ask for patience ”.
Childcare services throughout Ukraine have access to a list of families and will contact them when there is a need to temporarily accommodate a child. Among these are over 90,000 children who were entrusted with institutional education before the war.
As a result of the first part of formed families, six families have already provided a temporary home for the children. Each child is assigned a social worker to ensure the child’s well-being and to provide support and counseling to families.
“When children grow up outside a family environment, their chances of developing their potential to their fullness diminish,” said Murat Shakhin, head of UNICEF Ukraine. “We are committed to intensifying the efforts of partners, increasing the number of educated families and caregivers who can raise children in their homes or with their families, and pursuing their interests under the direct and constant supervision of social workers throughout Ukraine. Our vision is to leaving no child alone, and the formation of the first 1,000 families is a major step towards a family environment for every child in Ukraine ”.
According to the conditions of temporary residence, a child can live with a foster family until the end of the War Act, or until parents or relatives have been found. If the child has no relatives, the family providing the temporary accommodation is entitled to adoption or guardianship.
As part of the “Do not leave children alone” campaign, a website was launched to prevent violations of children’s rights.
The site provides information on how to support children without parental care, guidance on temporary housing and how to deal with psychological trauma. In addition, it explains the procedures for adoption and temporary reception, explains the legal framework for the protection of children’s rights, and provides advice to psychologists and journalists dealing with this topic in the media.
UNICEF worked with the Ukrainian government and partners to develop and promote family care for children as part of actions to reduce the number of children in institutions which, even before the war, were the highest in Europe.