Advocacy campaign “Open Doors for Europe’s Children” is being implemented on the European Union level and in 12 countries of Europe, including Ukraine. The campaign addresses the EU and governments of European countries to move from institutional system of children’s care to system, founded on upbringing in families. The initiative was officially launched on 6 June under guidance of two organizations – Eurochild (network of non-governmental organizations of European countries) and Hope and Homes for Children (international charitable organization ‘Hope and homes for children’).
“Open Doors for Europe’s Children” campaign is targeted to improve life of people who grow in specialized facilities (institutional care), might appear in such establishments and children who start independent life after orphanages. Campaign initiators are convinced: “It can be possible if we move from institutional care to upbringing in families (this process is well-known as deinstitutionalization)”.
The general aim of the campaign is consolidation of civic society efforts in order to implement systematic changes in social policy that will lead to refusal from institutional care of children. There are the following objectives of the campaign:
1. To raise the public awareness on harm and unacceptability of children development in orphanages and about existing alternatives
2. To attain the progress in making political decisions and legislation on moving from institutional care to system that provides children’s upbringing in family environment and encourages development of services on support of children and families in communities.
3. To improve the capacity of social sphere experts and non-governmental organizations on deinstitutionalization implementation.
Longstanding international and Ukrainian experience shows that orphanages for children aren’t required and it is possible to secure children’s rights in other better way. Active work of civic organizations in Ukraine, political statements of Ukrainian President made lately and regulatory documents create possibilities for real transformations in children rights protection sphere.
In its recommendations to national governments the European Commission directly calls to “stop the expansion of institutional system of taking care of children who were left without parents care and favor implementation of quality services on the community level and family forms of upbringing, taking in consideration child’s opinion.”
We, team of Caritas Ukraine, and our partners in Ukraine and abroad call the country’s government to be responsible in performing its duties on supporting families and securing quality alternative care of children. We also provide assistance to the government in this process, showing positive examples and experience of Caritas worldwide and in Ukraine.
Annually, during the last years, Caritas Ukraine spends nearly 3,5-5 millions UAH on programs of care of children and youth: projects of mobile work with crisis children and youth, rehabilitation and social integration of disabled youth, social and psychological help to labour migrants children are being implemented; target material aid is rendered to children who found themselves in complicated living circumstances, and there is also financial support in treatment of children with oncology diseases.
We appeal to everyone who can help in distribution of information and support “Open Doors for Europe’s Children” campaign, and even more – to assist in lobbying the idea of the campaign at legislative, political, national and regional levels, and in raising the qualification of social workers and civil society activists in deinstitutionalization implementation – JOIN “Open Doors for Europe’s Children” campaign, don’t stay indifferent!
Official web-site of the campaign – www.openingdoors.eu