On the eve of the celebration of Adoption Day, in the framework of the project “Strengthening the capacity of NGOs to monitor the rights of the child in Ukraine – Phase II”, on September 18, 19, 20 and 24, experts of the “Ukrainian Child Rights Network” together with representatives of the Secretariat of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine supported the UN Children’s Fund “UNICEF” Ukraine. institutions of the Kiev region.
Given that previous visits to the Kyiv region at the end of 2018 highlighted a number of problematic and sometimes downright horrific facts about violations of children’s rights, it was decided to re-monitor the region. For what? In order to see what has been done, what lessons have been learned, how the situation has changed, whether the children of Kyiv region are protected from arbitrariness, unprofessionalism and reluctance of adults to see children’s misfortune, especially those children left outside the family environment.
The experts inspected the following institutions, establishments and organizations:
– Charitable organization Center for Social Support of Children and Families “Nova Nadiya” (Ivankiv district, Kolentsi village);
– Charitable organization Children’s Social Rehabilitation Center “Soniachne Svitlo” (Brovary district, Trebukhiv village);
– Orphanage “Child Protection Center” Slavutych City Council of Kyiv region;
– Service for Children of Slavutych City Council;
– City center of social services for families, children and youth of Slavutych;
– Municipal institution of the Kyiv regional council “Specialized regional orphanage of Bila Tserkva”;
– Municipal institution of the Kyiv regional council “Velykopolovetske special boarding school of I-II degrees” (Skvyra district, Velykopolovetske village);
– Service for Children and Families of the Kyiv Regional State Administration.
All experts were convinced that after a detailed analysis of the situation based on the results of last year’s visits, high-profile meetings, promises of the region’s leadership to rectify the situation, take the necessary measures to protect the rights of each child, adults will find the Year of the Child 2019 opportunities, time and desire to ensure a dignified and protected childhood.
However, it did not happen as expected. Terrible conditions of detention and upbringing of children in the Center for Social Support of Children and Families “Nova Nadiya” of Ivankiv district, complete ignorance of its director and employees, lack of knowledge of current legislation by the head and specialists of the Service for Children of Slavutych City Council, indifference to the fate of children and unwillingness to properly perform the duties assigned by the state by the profile deputy mayor of Slavutych, deep unprofessionalism of employees of Slavutych city center of social services for families, children and youth, the complete lack of cooperation between children’s services and local social service providers among themselves and with the management of the institutional institutions where the children are – this is by no means a complete list of what has been seen.
Today, it became quite clear to experts why Kyiv region found itself in such a terrible state. The inspection of the Service for Children and Families of the Kyiv Regional State Administration is an example of how NOT to work. The members of the monitoring group saw the worst example in Ukraine of the work of the regional service, which is obliged to protect the rights of the child.
There was actually nothing to check. It was not even about system and professionalism. There is no planning and work on social and legal protection of children, control over the conditions of maintenance and upbringing of children in institutions, coordination and methodological support of local executive bodies, newly created OTGs are not motivated, controlled and left without children’s services. The analysis of individual cases of violation of children’s rights and statistical indicators is not carried out at all, meetings are not convened, specialists are not trained, professional staff is lost.
Instead, there is impudence and aggression in behavior, dilettantism, ignorance and unwillingness to study the requirements of the law, in some cases up to professional unfitness, inability to organize work, lack of understanding of the tasks that must be performed by the regional children’s service.
Children’s problems have not become a priority for the oblast leadership. In fact, nothing has been done to fix it after the last check and loud promises. The issues of protection of child rights were not heard at the boards of the regional state administration, the coordination council ceased to exist long ago, the regional working group on prevention and counteraction to violence against children last met in 2018. It is possible to list the problems of the regional service for an infinitely long time, but their presence directly affects the fate of many children in the region.
Too many slogans have already been announced about a happy childhood and how we will quickly reduce boarding schools, and just after that, literally tomorrow, a bright future for children will come from a miracle “brightly drawn” by populists and high-ranking PR people. And for some reason it does not come. And every year the situation becomes like a forgotten, dirty bottom.
Not every child in trouble can be lucky enough to get to the wonderful social rehabilitation center “Soniachne Svitlo” in Trebukhov (in the title photo), where respect for the child, his protection, meeting his individual needs is the main priority.
Time is running out. Time will tell whether the newly appointed governor will react to the revealed violations of children’s rights and whether childhood will ever be happy in Kyiv region.