EveryChild Ukraine establishes country's first emergency foster care
In doing so EveryChild has challenged a law that denies abandoned children the right to a family. Working alongside the local authority in the Kyiv region, EveryChild has trained and supported emergency foster families to care for children who would ordinarily be confined to a hospital or children's home.
Nataliya - becomes an
for abandoned children
When a baby is abandoned, under Ukrainian law, he or she must stay in the hospital for at least two months. However, some remain in a Soviet era children's home for as long as three years waiting in case their mothers decide to reclaim them.
Hospitals in Ukraine are not equipped to care for abandoned babies and are often very under-staffed and the country's outdated institutions are highly damaging to a small child's development. The new emergency foster care service which EveryChild has helped to establish will ensure that abandoned babies will receive loving care from a family until a time when they can be adopted or returned to their birth parents if appropriate.
Yuriy Petrovych Skorobagat'ko - Deputy Head of Children's Services in Kyiv region explains:
"When the children are brought to us they often have no documents or names, need urgent medical care and their legal status is unclear. Previously we were forced to place children without documents into temporary facilities for extended periods of time, including hospitals. The hospitals make space for these babies but the problem is that in the first year of life a baby needs to be cuddled, it needs to be talked to. Sometimes these babies spend up to three years in hospitals and other institutions that are under-staffed and ill-equipped to give them the love and attention they need."
Katya- First Ukrainian Child to Benefit from Emergency Foster Family
In August Ukrainian Children's Services rescued baby Katya from neglectful parents. She was under-fed, cried all the time and showed surprise when anyone spoke to, or embraced her. Katya had no birth certificate. Firstly Katya was taken for emergency treatment in a hospital but after a meeting between EveryChild and the local authority it was decided that she should be placed with the first emergency foster care family in Ukraine.
Katya's foster mother, Natliya, describes the importance of her new role:
"As an emergency foster mum I can help more children not to be placed in children's homes so that they can experience family life from the very beginning. The children I foster will get individual attention from me and my family."
Emergency Foster Family is an integral part of gate-keeping mechanism developed in Kyiv region in terms of the project "Preventing Separation of Children through Implementation of Gate-keeping Mechanism" aimed at the development of a replicable model of gate-keeping and community-based services for children and families in Kyiv Oblast which demonstrates a 30% reduction in the number of children in institutional care.