What is the Deinstitutionalization reform in Ukraine?
Deinstitutionalization (DI) is a reform of the institutional child-care system aimed at creating an environment in which most children can be raised in families and the need for institutional care is kept to a minimum. The implementation of the reform began in 2017, and the reform strategy is designed in three stages until 2026.
The first stage started in 2017 and lasted until 2018. It included analysis of the current institutional child-care system; formation of working groups and creation of training programs for specialists in this field; development and adoption of the legal framework and regulations, needed to implement this reform; development of criterias and metrics to monitor the process of reform.
The DI reform is currently in the second stage (2019-2024), which involves realization of the regional strategies on the DI reform; reforming the places of institutional care through the liquidation or its reorganization into day care institutions for children.
The final stage of the DI reform (2025-2026) includes the analysis of the reform implementation of the reform and work on a program for its further development.
The main goals of the deinstitutionalization process can be outlined as follows:
● Prevention of separation of children from parents and proper return of children from boarding schools to their families or to the environment as close as possible to family conditions;
● Creation of a range of available services for families within local communities;
● Support for families in difficult life situations;
● Promoting the development and social adaptation of graduates of institutional care institutions;
It is expected that by the end of the last stage of the reform in 2026, the number of children raised in the system of alternative care will decrease to 0.5% of the total child population. At the beginning of 2021 the Ministry of Social Policy proposed changes to the Strategy of deinstitutionalization that postpones the transformation of the institutional care system. The changes proposed by the Ministry are a step backwards in reforming the system of institutions and do not contribute to the safety and well-being of children living in these institutions.
The Lviv Education Foundation holds informational forums twice a year to raise public awareness about the DI reform and children's rights in general. In December 2020, during one of our online forums, we had the representatives of FICE International - Prof. Emmanuel Grupper, FICE President and Dr. Alex Schneider, Member of the Board of the FICE Israel Boarding Schools Association.
In addition, the Lviv Education Foundation provides training for social workers in communities, trains psychologists, supports families, as well as trains and prepares representatives of religious organizations to provide social services to families with children.