Thousands of children in Ukraine with disabilities, developmental disorders, illnesses, or from disadvantaged social backgrounds are deprived of their human rights and grow up without love, care and attention of a family. The COVID-19 pandemic has even worsened the situation.
Nearly 1.5% of all children in Ukraine live without family in some form of residential institution - one of the highest rates of child institutionalisation in the world. This system has not changed much over two decades and it employs more than 60,000 staff across almost 700 facilities nationwide.
Since the adoption of theNational Strategy on Reform of the Institutional Care System (2017-2026),the Government of Ukraine has embarked on a process of reform and committed to transform its national care system.
However, despite some positive developments, the reform has not been comprehensive and has encountered significant challengesthat serve to preserve the current system of institutions.
Today, a coalition of 22 child rights organisations calls on the Ukrainian government and the European Union to act before it is too late to protect the rights and future of some of the most forgotten and left behind children.