On Tuesday, November 3, the All-Ukrainian meeting on the shaping and implementation of the state policy in the field of children’s rights, in particular regarding ensuring the right of orphans and children deprived of parental care to family upbringing, was chaired by the Prime Minister of Ukraine.
According to the Prime Minister, in the context of decentralization reform, the powers and functions of specialists in both the executive and local governments are changing dramatically. In the process of decentralization, communities have gained significant resources, finances, and authority, as well as extended responsibility for the residents of their community.
"The formation of districts will lead to the process of liquidation of district state administrations in their current form. Relevant social services have also not yet been established in the communities. And in the process of forming executive committees, the establishment of children's rights protection services at the community level and at the district level is becoming a very important priority," said Denys Shmyhal.
The Head of Government stressed that it is impossible to allow preliminary reduction of the number of employees of regional and district state administrations engaged in the protection of children's rights and care for orphans.
"It is necessary to retain professionals who work in the social sphere and the protection of children's rights. Their knowledge, skills and abilities are needed today more than ever in the community, in regional and subregional divisions of the National Social Service," the Prime Minister said.
Minister of Social Policy Maryna Lazebna called on the regions and local communities to develop their social programs, allocate funds provided by the subvention to ensure housing for orphans and children deprived of parental care and work together to fulfill the obligations to these children.
Maryna Lazebna stressed that in order not to stop social policy during the formation of new district state administrations, it is necessary to introduce a transition period until the National Social Service is set up, which will take over the powers in the social sphere.
Mykola Kuleba, the Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights, supported the Minister of Social Policy's proposal to introduce a transition period of at least one year with the retention of all employees of the district-level children's service until the state guarantees the transfer of all these functions at the local level.
Moreover, Mykola Kuleba added that in order to stimulate local communities to take care of families and children, it is critical to create a service for children, hire social workers and develop social services.
Following the meeting, the Prime Minister gave a number of instructions, including the establishment of services for children and structural units for social protection in the newly formed districts and ensuring the continued functioning of the relevant services and structural units in the structure of the regional state administrations.
Regional state administrations, together with local governments, should ensure the reorganization of urban, district in cities, rural and settlement centers of social services for families, children and youth into appropriate centers of social services with day and inpatient departments. And also to establish in those communities where it is expedient, centers of rendering of social services both operating during the day and round-the-clock.
In addition, the Prime Minister instructed the regional state administrations to assist in the transfer of social protection institutions at the district level with adequate logistical, personnel and methodological potential to the balance of sufficient communities with the ability to co-finance and meet the needs of several communities.