Friday, March 5, 2010

HealthRight Holds Roundtable on Access to Services for Street and At-Risk Youth in Donetsk, Ukraine

Donetsk, UKRAINE – On February 25, 2010, HealthRight International and Caritas Donetsk held a roundtable discussion to examine the level of access to social, psychological and medical services for street and at-risk children and youth in Ukraine. The event, organized with support from the Children’s Service of the Donetsk City Council, was attended by over 30 representatives of state and public organizations providing social services and preventative measures for street and at-risk children and youth.

The event resulted in commitment to creating a memorandum of cooperation to optimize coordination between the various social, medical, psychological and educational services available for this vulnerable population. The first working group meeting is scheduled to be held in March 2010.
Discussions included the need for expansion and quality improvement of the current services available, as well as a call for additional services. Liudmila Burkal, Deputy Director of the Donetsk Regional Center of Social Services for Families, Children and Youth, emphasized the need for improved coordination and cooperation between the government and the various NGOs in the city.

Liubov Pantelyuk, Project Manager for Caritas Donetsk,  said that for the past 10 years, street youth in Ukraine have been one of the populations most in need of support, even though serious gaps continue to exist in the availability of services. “Children go into the streets because of domestic violence, alcoholism in families and often simply because of lack of control by parents,” she said. “Misunderstandings between employees of social institutions and the children continue to exist, and there has not been an adequate response to meet the needs of children in boarding schools and orphanages.”

HealthRight International has worked in Ukraine since 2005 to improve access to social, medical and psychological services for children and families, including street and at-risk children and youth. Click here to learn more.