Community social services are cheaper and more effective in prevention of child separation from families, - EveryChild Ukraine believes
No child was placed into residential institutions or deprived of parental care during 2007-2009 - as a preliminary result of establishment of community social workers in pilot villages of Kyiv region. Unlike in 2006, when 4 villages reported about 11 cases of child separation, today social services intervene into crisis situation immediately and provide more competent assistance.
As a result of mutual co-operation between EveryChild Ukraine and local authorities in 18 villages of Kyiv region there are acting community social specialists to work with families, children and youth; 4 village social centers, as a whole this network covers 31 localities. Despite the economic crisis EveryChild is going to continue support 12 more community social workers to be established in villages in terms of the project "Preventing Separation of Children through implementation of Gate-keeping Mechanism in Kyiv Oblast".
Ludmila, a village social worker
in Shkarivka, Lyiv region
"Social services became significantly more accessible to more than 400 children and families in Kyiv region, now they access them directly in the community of residence.
This allows to identify hard living circumstances of the family with children at the earliest possible stage, to mobilize social infrastructure of the village to address them: social worker, social pedagogue, psychologist, educational institutions, staff of medical institutions, cultural institutions and sports representatives religious communities and civil society organizations"- highlighted the Country Director of EveryChild Ukraine Volodymyr Kuzminskyy in his speech at the All-Ukrainian meeting on public access to social services directly at their place of residence, especially in rural areas, held on 27 January in Kiev.
During a joint initiative in each of these villages assessments of needs of vulnerable families with children were made, those findings later on formed the basis for local programs of their support. Thus rural social workers received an opportunity to use the resources of rural budgets for support of families with children.
Within two years, EveryChild Ukraine together with its partners, the Kiev State Administration conducted 11 training seminars for mayors and village councils to raise the professional level of experts, to extend effective methods of social work in the community, develop mechanisms for interagency cooperation. The importance of the latter was specifically underlined:
"Despite the fact that in recent years serious attempts were made by the state to establish mechanisms for interagency cooperation of all subjects of social work, still each agency has its parallel regulations which are not consistent with the interagency.
For instance, a vulnerable family with a child in hard life circumstances may be visited by up to 5 of the 7 subjects of social work, whereby each will prepare a final document after a visit in line with his departmental letterhead: act on the survey of housing and living conditions; social survey act, etc., will it solve the case?"- asked V. Kuzminskyy the audience at the All-Ukrainian meeting.
He proposed to move from a child protection policy to another stage - the most favourable environment to support child's needs - the family. This includes integration of efforts based on common beliefs, including understanding the needs of children and their families, shared information and monitoring systems, shared documentation of certain processes, common evaluation of the effectiveness of local government to ensure children's rights.
Therefore EveryChild Ukraine together with partners developed criteria for Kiev Regional State Administration to measure effectiveness of executive authorities and local governments to ensure the rights of children (all actors and the public) and Guidelines on interagency cooperation on the implementation of social work and social and legal protection of children and families with children with signs of difficult life circumstances.
For this or any other information contact:
Oksana Shved, Communications Manager, EveryChild Ukraine, email@example.com; +38 044 457 29 10