Taking care of children in AHs
Children constitute about 15-20% of the AH population. Ensuring and upholding the rights of the child are among the powers, gained by amalgamated hromadas in November 2017. So far, only 81 children's services have been established and 341 specialists are involved in child rights’ protection in 705 AHs. All other hromadas have not yet fulfilled powers of ensuring, observance and protection of the rights of the child, because they did not take over the functions of a custody and guardianship authority, provided by the legislation.
The AH work on ensuring, observing and protecting the rights of the child was the topic of the roundtable meeting, held at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Centre within the USAID DOBRE Programme.
The participants discussed, who should take care of children in hromadas, got acquainted with the AH experience, and outlined the current challenges in the field of child rights.
According to Lyudmyla Volynets, expert on children's rights, AHs should be efficient in protecting the rights of the child; they must not only acquire the powers of the custody and guardianship authority, but also master the procedures and rules for the application of the legislative provisions on the resolution of disputes between the parents of the child, restrictions or deprivation of parental rights, counteraction to violence, including at home, representation of interests of children and minors in the absence of legal representatives of the child and many others.
Nataliya Fedorovych, Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, outlined the problem of the distribution of functions between the AH and the RSA, as well as AH’s understanding of its functions.
The amalgamated hromada as custody and guardianship authority ensures protection of the personal and property rights of every child residing in the hromada. However, not all hromadas have access to the electronic database of children, requiring special attention from the hromada, as data remains in rayon services.
Immediately after amalgamation, the Verkhnyanska rural amalgamate hromada introduced the Children, Family and Youth Service into its structure. The AH managed to get relevant personal record files from the rayon service.
The social protection department, responsible for all social strata, has been working in the hromada for already a year. And, according to Nataliya Petryshyn, head of the Department of Social Protection of the Verkhnyanska AH, the hromada is only waiting for all their functions to be appropriately prescribed and enshrined in the law.
“The issue of child rights’ protection is really very important. We hear from the hromadas about the lack of information and human resources in protecting the rights of the child. Therefore, the DOBRE Programme began to conduct trainings on AH powers in ensuring and observing the rights of the child. The next step is to try to find the best ways to provide assistance, needed from us,” said Barry Reed, director of the USAID DOBRE Programme.
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