The Ukrainian Child Rights Network, together with representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office and the Ministry of Social Policy, with the technical support of UNICEF, monitors the observance of children’s rights in the alternative care system. Odesa region became another region where specially created monitoring groups worked on January 28 and 29. Cooperation takes place in accordance with the Memorandum signed by the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights, the Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, the Chairman of the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF Ukraine and the Chairman of the Board of the UMPD.
The objects of study of this activity were the Center for Social and Psychological Rehabilitation of Children of the Bilyaiv District State Administration, the Service for Children of the Bilyaiv District State Administration, the Center of Social Services for Families, Children and Youth of the Bilyaiv District State Administration, Belgorod-Dniester Special Secondary School. – boarding school №10 I-II degrees », Service for Children of Belgorod-Dniester District State Administration, Center for Social Services for Families, Children and Youth of Belgorod-Dniester District State Administration, Odessa Municipal Educational Institution “Perlinka Orphanage” of Odessa City Council, Service for Children of Odessa City Council, Center for Social Services for families, children and youth of Odessa city council, Municipal Institution “City Specialized Orphanage №1” of the Odessa City Council, the Service for Children of the Odessa Regional State Administration, the Odessa Regional Center for Social Services for Families, Children and Youth.
The monitoring group found a number of violations of children’s rights. In particular, in the Center for Social and Psychological Rehabilitation of Children of the Service for Children of Bilyaiv District State Administration – hungry children. Here the amount of food per day is only 14 hryvnias. Bread for children is locked. Dairy products are not available at all. Food storage conditions are not observed. There are a lot of questions before buying products.
In general – the institution is dirty, there is a stench. Children can only take hygiene products with the permission of the staff. Clothes, even underwear, are worn by children in turn. In addition, teaching staff and psychologists do not actually work with children. A 15-year-old boy has been found in the center, who has not attended secondary school for almost six months, and this is a serious violation of the child’s right to education.
Many problematic issues were recorded by the monitoring group in terms of social and legal protection of children, the conditions of their detention and upbringing in some boarding schools in Odessa region. This is not surprising, as local children’s services do not exercise proper control in this area in special institutions. The head of the Odessa city service does not respond to letters from the heads of institutions about the need to deprive parents of parental rights, who have not visited children for more than six months and are not even interested in them. And this is not all violations.
Regarding the regional service for children. They did not fulfill the work plan for 2018, approved by the profile deputy head of the Odessa regional state administration. They also ignored the instructions of the head of the regional state administration to inspect all boarding schools in the region, which were to take place before June 1, 2018. Inspections of shelters and centers for social and psychological rehabilitation of children are also not conducted. Seminars and methodical meetings are not organized. Systematically, no one deals with children who find themselves in difficult life circumstances. Specialists of the service do not know the legislation and, accordingly, can not provide methodological assistance to subordinate services. It is also worrying that during the two years of holding the post of the head of the Odessa Regional State Administration Maksym Stepanov, the issues of protection of children’s rights have never been submitted to the board of the regional administration, contrary to the law.
During the monitoring, many questions arose to the Odessa regional and some local centers of social services for families, children and youth. Namely, the fate of the family and the child, who find themselves in difficult life circumstances, often depends on the quality of their work.