FICE International: A statement on Ukraine
FICE-INTERNATIONAL WAS FOUNDED IN 1948 AND IS AN ASSOCIATION OF RESEARCHERS, PRACTITIONERS AND EDUCATORS WHO PROMOTE THE DEVELOPMENT OF LIFESTYLES FOR CHILDREN IN OUT-OF-HOME CARE SO THAT ALL CHILDREN CAN GROW UP IN SAFETY, IN A RELIABLE NETWORK OF RELATIONSHIPS AND WITH PROSPECTS. (Website: www.ficeinter.net)
CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN UKRAINE
How can we provide security and prospects for children and young people living in homes and foster families in Ukraine in the current situation?
Vladimir Putin has declared war on Ukraine. As the war has spread to all areas of Ukraine, protection is not granted in the whole territory of the country. In addition to the lack of basic needs, the citizens of Ukraine live in a constant state of insecurity.
FICE's partners in Ukraine, who have been taking care of the rights and welfare of children in extra-familial education and care, are not able to guarantee protection and prospects for the approximately 80,000 Ukrainian children and young people who are not growing up with their parents. Additionally, about 50,000 children are without family networks and about 50,000 live in institutions because their family environment cannot provide them with a child-friendly upbringing. These young people are particularly vulnerable in the current situation, as they can count neither on state assistance nor on a reliable family network.
Where are the children and young people accommodated ?
Approx. 10,000 are located in 1265 socio-educational large family homes (12 - 20 children).
Approx. 7,000 are located in 3119 foster families.
Approx. 60,000 are located in boarding schools.
Approx. 3,000 are located in homes for small children of 0 - 3 years old (Approx. 2000 children are cared for in this way every year).
In several homes, a large number of staff members are already on the run with their families, therefore, day-to-day care cannot be guaranteed everywhere. Furthermore, a large percentage of these staff members do not want to abandon the children in their care and live together with them in a situation of great insecurity.
These people do not have the ability to flee to another country on their own, therefore, they are in need of assistance. As countries that are not directly experiencing the disastrous effects of war, we are in a position to lobby our respective governments as professional organisations in order to provide temporary shelter and protection for this particularly vulnerable group in our countries.
Most countries are signatories to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, thus, they are obliged to take special care of children who have to grow up in particularly difficult conditions in order to enable them to have a positive future in spite of their troubled past.
FICE-International issues an immediate call to:
• all FICE countries to evaluate the possibility of taking in children and young people from out-of-home care in Ukraine in order to provide them with temporary protection, psychosocial support and perspectives;
• the FICE countries Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria to offer better care and professional support to children and young people who have fled to their countries to seek asylum;
• all FICE countries to provide emergency assistance to our Ukrainian partners in order for them to facilitate grater protection and help for the children, young people and staff on the ground.
This call goes out to all FICE sections with the request to actively contact the responsible bodies in their country and report back to FICE-International by 20/03/2022 with the possible governmental and private offers to provide help for children and young people in care and foster families in Ukraine. In addition, we will join forces with other specialist organisations in order to be able to accompany as many children and young people as possible.
In case of need, do not hesitate to contact our secretariat.
Dr. Emannuel Grouper Rolf Widmer
FICE International co-president FICE International co-president