We helped deliver food kits and hygiene products to many reunited families, including Andriy’s. It was urgently needed, as his father had not received a salary in months.
When the coronavirus crisis hit Ukraine, the government announced that almost 75% of the children living in orphanages would be returned home.There was no preparation for the children or the families, no understanding of what separated them in the first place, and no ongoing planning or support.
Since 2017, we’ve been working closely with the Ukrainian government to influence policy and resources to build a better care system that keeps children in families. So, we were uniquely placed to offer our insight to help families stay together throughout the crisis and beyond.
As well as providing emergency support and food packages to families in Ukraine, we developed monitoring guidelines and recommendations for the Ministry of Social Policy and the Ministry of Education in Ukraine to help people involved in family reunification such as social workers, foster carers and local authority employees.
We also supported with our expertise, running specialist webinars on topics including assisting children with disabilities during distance learning, and supporting children under quarantine during the pandemic.
For the children returned to their families, the difference is incredible. Andriy*, an 11-year-old care leaver who has been reunited with his family, is just glad to be home.
“I had friends in the boarding school, but I do not want to return there. Here I have my little brother and sister. I love them very much and love to play with them."
We’re encouraging the government to use the insight gained to build a better system and a brighter future for vulnerable children. And with so many children living in institutions now at home with loving families, we’ll use this opportunity to encourage more support for children to prevent them returning to orphanages.
*Name changed to protect privacy