On 29 February a round table was held in the Prague Hotel Conference hall. The round table was on Realizing the city program: Protecting Children’s Families: a partnership to serve children.
This event presented programs that, if implemented, could reduce the number of abandoned children in Donetsk by 30% by the end of 2014. An imperative step is to create a mechanism that identifies families who are undergoing some kind of crisis, to develop new approaches for working with families and to create a system so that children, who cannot return to their biological parents, can be reared in a family environment.
Protecting Children’s Families is financed in Donetsk by the Foundation for Developing Ukraine and Health Right International.
The project is run by the Donetsk City Centre for Families, Children and Youth, the Donetsk youth organization Alternative Youth Centre (Horod Solntsa), and Caritas Donetsk
The goal of the Protecting Children’s Families project is to prevent children from being abandoned by their parents by creating the conditions that allow them to stay with their biological parents.
The fact that society doesn’t devote enough attention to the problems that families with children face is the main reason why parents abandon their children. Specific situations vary greatly but they all carry the same consequence—the child is denied the right to be raised in a family.
Today, child abandonment is a widespread problem in Ukraine. The fact that work being done with children and parents is deteriorating complicates the situation for abandoned children and leads to an increase in broken homes.
Regardless of the radical changes in the global process of educating the younger generation in Ukraine, and the understanding that it takes a community to raise an abandoned child, little is changing. As was the case in the past, these children’s fate is at the mercy of orphanages.
Lyubov Pantelyuk, Coordinator of Work with Children and Adolescents for Caritas L’viv spoke at the round table about Caritas’ involvement in this project since September 2011.
Ms. Pantelyuk says that the project which currently is being run by Caritas Donetsk has given itself clear and precise assignments which allow for quantifiable results:
1. To identify those families that could function as a social unit again, if they were given appropriate social support.
2. To provide the necessary support for children living in families, which are unable to function effectively at the moment.