From October 22 to 25, monitoring visits were carried out to institutions and establishments of Luhansk region.
Two monitoring groups, consisting of representatives of the Secretariat of the VRU Commissioner for Human Rights and experts of the Ukrainian Child Rights Network, inspected the following facilities: Luhansk Regional Orphanage № 2, located in Severodonetsk, municipal institution “Severodonetsk regional boarding school of I-III degree, Hirske regional special boarding school, Service for Children of Popasna District State Administration, Popasna District Center for Social Services for Families of Children and Youth, Shchastiz regional general sanatorium boarding school of I-III degrees, Service for Children of the Novoaydar district state administration, Novoaydarsky district Center for Social Services for Families of Children and Youth.
In general, the monitoring groups had a positive impression of visiting Luhansk region. One of the most serious problems is the placement of orphans and children deprived of parental care with disabilities. Because institutions that are designed for such children have remained in the uncontrolled territory.
The monitors saw a common problem in the approach to drawing up individual social protection plans for orphans and children deprived of parental care. They are, but are formal and do not take into account the individual characteristics of the child.
Approaches to issues related to working with children in difficult life circumstances need to be improved: their timely detection and registration. There is no quality cooperation between Service for Children and Center for Social Services for Families of Children and Youth. Even if, as in the Novoaidar district, they are located in neighboring rooms, they sometimes find out about the problems of children in difficult life circumstances or other problems in a few months.
On the other hand, there is a lack of premises for social workers. Because Service for Children in Novoaydar district, which consists of 5 specialists, is located in one small room.
As throughout the country, there is a very serious problem of lack of specialists in the field. For example, the Center for Social Services for Families of Children and Youth employs a director and a social work specialist – and this is more than 7,000 children. When the monitors talked to the profile deputy head of the Novoaidar Regional State Administration, Tetyana Volodymyrivna Novikova, they explained why it would be important to increase the number of profile specialists in the Service for Children and Center for Social Services for Families of Children and Youth. But instead they learned that they were tasked to reduce the number of civil servants by 20%. Although “above” there are letters stating that it is impossible to reduce the Service for Children, the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Education and so on. But at the same time there is a requirement to reduce the total number of RSA employees by 20%.
Thus for all RSA there is only one car, for departures of all its workers on the area. What quality of work can we talk about?
Also in the Luhansk region there is a lack of advanced training courses for employees of not only district, but also local Services for Children and Centers for Social Services for Families of Children and Youth. Due to overload, lack of staff, lack of motivation, they often do not know the law and misinterpret them, which makes significant mistakes in their work.
Appropriate conditions for children are mostly created in institutions.
Although the diet of children of Severodonetsk boarding school does not contain fruits and juices. The management explains this by the fact that they significantly lack the funds to purchase them, so children can eat it only when there is sponsorship. The amount of 60 hryvnias for a child’s food per day is really not enough. However, if we talk about food at the Mountain Boarding School, this money is enough for a more varied diet. Obviously, this also depends on the ability of specific employees to allocate funds.
The very low quality of roads has a strong impact on the ability of children in institutions to communicate with their parents. Because it seriously complicates the ability to get to the child, take her home for the weekend. Especially when it comes to children with mental health complications, as in the Mountain School, because even the way home and back on the road can lead to deterioration of the child.
However, in general, the visits to the institutions of Luhansk region were more positive than negative. Even though it is a frontline region, people are in a state of military conflict, they try to save face and do what depends on them.