Experts from the U-LEAD with Europe Program explained to representatives of the communities the specifics of ensuring social protection for children affected by Russian aggression.
This was reported in U-LEAD.
They note that because of the war in Ukraine, thousands of children remain orphans, lose contact with their families and find themselves in difficult life circumstances. The participants of the information session “Organizing the protection of children’s rights during martial law”, organized by the Regional office of “U-LEAD with Europe” in the Dnipropetrovsk region, learned about providing little Ukrainians with special protection, support and care.
“The task of each community is to ensure maximum protection of the rights of children during martial law. And not only locals, but also those who come to our communities in search of asylum from territories that are temporarily occupied or where hostilities are taking place. But during evacuations and relocations, as a result of bombing or fighting, children can get lost, lose their parents, come to another settlement without adults. Situations during a war can be different,” U-LEAD notes.
The Program adds that they have prepared guidelines for organizing the work of social services in communities to ensure the rights of children. The speakers of the information session briefed representatives of the communities on the key changes that have taken place in the legislation in the field of protecting the rights of children under martial law, provided clarifications on the procedure for granting the status of a child affected by military operations and armed conflicts, and the specifics of children traveling abroad.
Particular attention was paid to working with orphans and children deprived of parental care and meeting the needs of children evacuated from dangerous areas.
“During a state of emergency or martial law on the territory of Ukraine, children left without parental care, including children separated from their families, are temporarily placed in foster families and family-type orphanages. In the event of the death of parents or their disappearance, the child is placed in a foster family and family-type orphanages on a common basis with the appointment of the payment of state social assistance,” emphasized the adviser on local self-government and decentralization of the Regional office “U-LEAD with Europe” in the Dnipropetrovsk region Victoria Trotsenko.
The expert explained that the status of a child deprived of parental care can be obtained by a child whose parents have died or their whereabouts are unknown, or he has lost contact with his relatives. This can be confirmed by a certificate from the ZhEK, a statement to law enforcement agencies on the search for the missing, testimonies of people from the scene.
“In the event that there is no certificate of death or death of parents or the death or death of parents is not registered, the child receives the status of a child deprived of parental care until the death or death of parents is documented. After the termination or cancellation of the state of emergency or martial law, the status of the child must be confirmed or refuted according to the procedures and on the basis of the documents provided for by law,” Trotsenko said.
According to her, during the war, custody of a child can be taken over by his relatives or godparents. To do this, a potential guardian / trustee must submit to the Children’s Services an application, a copy of the passport, documents confirming the family, kinship or other relationship of the person with the child (baptism certificate or other document issued by a religious organization), a certificate from a narcologist and a psychiatrist about the possibility of raising a child, a certificate or statement of the guardian on the absence of a criminal record.
Trotsenko stressed that during martial law, a potential guardian who is in a family relationship (including godparents) is not required to take a course on raising children left without parental care.
Also during the information session, the financial aspects of providing social protection for children evacuated from dangerous areas were considered. Adviser on municipal finance and management Andrey Muzhevsky recalled that village, township, city heads, as well as village and settlement elders, are personally responsible for ensuring the identification of children in difficult life circumstances. Children’s services coordinate the identification and protection of children, as well as the management of their cases.
The participants were also introduced to the work of the “Child Not Himself” chatbot, which can be used to offer asylum to a child, report a lost or found lonely child, and provide information about international organizations that are ready to shelter Ukrainian children.
As reported, the Program for Ukraine on Local Empowerment, Accountability and Development U-LEAD with Europe is co-financed by the EU and its Member States Germany, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Slovenia to support Ukraine on its path to strengthening local government. U-LEAD promotes transparent, accountable and multi-level governance in Ukraine that meets the needs of citizens and empowers communities.