“Ukrainian Child Rights Network” and the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine held a webinar on “Protection of children in a Covid-19 pandemic” on the implementation of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine resolution from June 1, 2020 № 586. The webinar was held within the project “Assessment and response to challenges in the field of protection of children’s rights during the COVID-19 pandemic “.
The speakers of the event were Ruslan Kolbasa, Director General of the Directorate for Development of Social Services and Protection of Children’s Rights of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, and Lyubov Solodukhina, State Expert of the Expert Group on Reforming the Adoption and Protection of Children’s Rights of the Directorate for Social Services and Protection, Victor Salchuk, a representative of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, and Zinaida Kiyanytsia, Deputy Director for Programs for the Partnership “For Every Child”. The webinar was organized for children’s services, social services centers for families, children and youth, as well as educators from all over the country.
Ruslan Kolbasa noted that the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers № 586 amends the procedure for placing children in boarding schools. Most often, parents decide to send their child to a boarding school because of a number of problems, including difficult life circumstances and the child’s health problems. There are a number of factors that make it difficult for parents to decide to leave the child in the family, in particular:
- improper development of medical, social, educational and rehabilitation services on the ground;
- insufficient number of social workers;
- problems of transporting children to school;
- insufficient number of such services as extended day groups, meals for children in extracurricular activities in sections and clubs;
- slow development of inclusive education.
“It is advantageous to move a child to a boarding school on the spot. The boarding school is ready to accept the child. The children’s service, together with social services, did not make efforts to prevent the child from going to boarding school. And it turns out that it is beneficial for everyone for a child to go to an institution, and the legal reason will be, in fact, a health disorder, and in fact – difficult life circumstances, and the social system must work with it, “said Ruslan Kolbasa.
According to the new resolution, the decision on the expediency of placement in a boarding school will be made by the guardianship authorities at the child’s place of residence, based on the recommendations of the commission for protection of children’s rights, to which parents will apply. When considering the application and submitted materials, the commission should examine the documents and take into account: family living conditions, child rearing, family opportunities to meet the child’s needs and community opportunities to provide the child with necessary services at the place of residence, including inclusive education for children with special education. needs, social services needed for the child and his family. The decision on the expediency of placing a child in an institution for round-the-clock stay can be made by the Commission only if all possibilities of providing its care and upbringing in a family or conditions close to family are exhausted, taking into account the best interests of the child.
According to Zinaida Kiyanitsa, monitoring of the reasons for children entering boarding schools is successfully carried out in the Ternopil region. As part of a pilot project on the reintegration of boarding school students in the region, the number of children in the region has already been recorded, the real reasons for the child’s placement and the need for services have been analyzed, and new institutions of institutional care and upbringing have been established. Thanks to the decision system, which was based on the assessment of the child’s needs, the number of children in round-the-clock boarding schools was reduced by 35% within 1.5 years. The main result was the child’s personal record – a description of the reasons why she was in the boarding school, and a list of actions to fix it.
Currently, the Ternopil region is implementing a priority package of services for the reintegration of children in boarding schools, including:
- school of parental competence – formation of parental competence in parents raising children under the age of 14 or persons preparing for parenthood;
- development of social skills and preparation for inclusive education of children with disabilities and children with persistent health disorders (without established disability) aged 3 to 6 years in day care;
- integration of boarding school graduates;
- support of children with disabilities during inclusive education in secondary schools;
- temporary care for school-age children from 6 to 10 years in extracurricular activities;
- temporary rest for parents or persons replacing them, caring for school-age children from 6 to 10 years in extracurricular activities;
- early intervention services for families raising young children (up to 3 years).
An electronic system will also be developed, through which the staff of the children’s service will record the results of monitoring.
Thanks to the webinar, specialists of all levels – from national to local – received explanations of the new provisions of the Cabinet Resolution from 01.06.2020 № 586. In total, the webinar was attended by 100 representatives from different communities across Ukraine, and joined the review and discussion on Facebook more than 2000 specialists. The full webinar recording is available at the link.