« Photogallery21/11/08 Chances for Childhood for Every Child
Ôîòî: Andriy Sharapa, Ukraine
Timely provided assistance prvents family breakdown and helpd to save mothers and fathers for children
- Two years ago Svitlana just couldn’t cope any more. Her house was old and in need of repair, she couldn’t pay her bills so the gas and electricity had been cut off. Like many people she tried to hide from her problems by drinking.
- Her neighbours were really worried that Svitlana’s children, Anton (11) and Ihor (7) weren’t being properly looked after and reported the situation. Someone came to take the brothers to an institution but their Granny refused to let them go.
- This was around the time when new social services were being set up and so a Social Worker then became involved with the family. She helped Svitlana to restructure her debts and get the power switched back on, she found her help to stop drinking, and she made sure that friendly neighbours were around to help Svitlana when she felt as if life was getting too difficult. What a difference two years can make!
- Now when you visit the family you can see how happy they are. Anton loves showing off his models and his Mum says he’s a great help around the house. Ihor has been at school for a year and is very good at maths and reading.
- Svitlana has a new boyfriend and he’s helping her make repairs to the house. The family Social Worker says that they are a perfect example of how a little bit of straightforward support can keep children safely with their families.
- These beautiful girls are called Karina, (6 years old) and Diana (she’s 3). They live with their Mum, Nataliya and Dad, Victor. They rent one room in a hostel and share the bathrooms and kitchen with other families. It’s small but homely and they’ve even found room for Karina’s budgie to live with them too.
- Not long ago things got very tough for the family. The girl’s parents couldn’t find jobs and they found life very difficult living on top of each other. They started to drink heavily and began to neglect their daughters.
- Fortunately one of the neighbours noticed what was going on and alerted Social Services. A Social Worker visited them and after completing her assessment she recommended that Karina go to live temporarily in a local institution. Then she helped Nataliya and Victor to begin to sort out their problems. Nataliya was really sad about living without Karina.
- She knows what it is like to be separated from your family because she and her sister had grown up in an institution. They got moved around at different ages and now Nataliya doesn’t know where her sister is. She was really determined to make sure that didn’t happen to Karina. The family is back together now. Nataliya and Victor have stopped drinking, and Victor has a job.
- Karina can’t wait to go to school so she can learn to read properly but Diana says she doesn’t need to read because her Dad tells her stories. The local Social Worker is keeping in regular touch with the family to make sure that everything is OK and at the moment Nataliya is very glad of this support. If they hadn’t lived in an area where the new types of social care were being developed this family would probably have been permanently separated.