It is estimated that 104,000 children live in institutions in Ukraine, in addition to a significant number of children and families who have been displaced since the conflict began in the east. However, despite the challenges faced, there is political and professional will to reform the system.
Lumos in Ukraine
Ukraine has among the highest number of children in institutions in Europe, with an ingrained institutional system viewed as the only solution for children at risk.
The proportion of institutionalised children in Ukraine is 1.5% of the total number of the child population, higher than any of the surrounding countries. Success in Ukraine is likely to have considerable influence on the DI reform processes in the neighbouring countries.
Lumos in Ukraine
Starting in 2013, Lumos focused on regions in the Eastern part of the country – undertaking a Strategic Review and providing training in the Dnepropetrovsk region and Makeyevka. However, the implementation of reforms in the Eastern regions of Ukraine has been affected by the conflict and preventing Lumos from continuing activities in those regions.
In January 2016, the President of Ukraine, Mr. Petro Poroshenko, launched the reform of the country's institutional care system by signing a Decree “On a working group for reforming the system of institutional care and education of children.” The Ombudsman for Children under the President of Ukraine was designated to lead the working groups, comprising representatives from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Social Policy – to develop a national deinstitutionalisation strategy.
Lumos, known as an expert in the DI reform at international level, has been invited by the Ombudsman to provide technical assistance and expertise to the country during this process. Therefore, over 2016-2017, Lumos revitalised its activities in the country, supporting the Ombudsman’s office, the Government and other national and international organisations.
- An adoption of the DI vision.
- The Cabinet of Ministers’ approval of the National Strategy of Institutional Childcare System Reform, and the National Action Plan for 2017-2026.
- Implementation of the Experimental Project "Development of the inclusive educational environment in Zaporozhe region" in 19 mainstream schools and extension of the Project in Dnepropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, Chernigov and Khmelnitsky regions.
- DI training delivered for around 90 participants, including MPs, representatives of the national and regional Governments, international organisations and local NGOs.
- Technical assistance provided towards developing an Inclusive Education (IE) Action Plan and regulatory framework for new-created services.
- Study visits of Ukrainian partners in UK and in Moldova.
- Creation of the National DI Reform Office (NDIRO) was supported.
- Continue supporting the Ukrainian authorities to implement the National DI Strategy and Plan.
- Provide technical support to DI and IE reform in one demonstration region to create an example of positive reform in the country.
- Strengthen the capacity of national and regional level stakeholders in DI and IE.