Children with special mental and physical needs require social services on community level – Commissioner for Children’s Rights


There are 150 thousand children with disabilities in Ukraine. This makes 2% of the child population, 10% more have special needs. “In the area of ​​social services, which children with mental and physical disabilities need the most, Ukraine has great systematic problems, starting with a fact that the state has a monopoly in this area. […] Unfortunately, unlike the rest of the world, Ukraine has no social services market”, – said Marianna Onufryk, director of the social programs of the Institute of Social and Economic Research.

Mykola Kuleba, Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for Children’s Rights, stresses the importance of developing local infrastructure with access for people with disabilities. Last year, the number of children in inclusive schools increased 1.5 times. Yet, out of 17 thousand schools, only one third has access to the first floor for children with special needs, 91 school has access to the second floor. “The only service that state can provide for children with special needs is isolation. […] But orphanages do not meet their basic needs – in quality food, in quality care, medical treatment, safety. […] The solution is in strengthening social services and educating social workers to provide professional services for families. […]The reforming of orphanages does not mean simply their closure. This means assessing every child’s needs and providing them with necessary services on community level”, – said Mykola Kuleba.

“Personalized approach to reforming social services, and getting out of those larger centers into smaller community-based settings  makes it possible to start working on skill-building exercises, and other things that are important both for the children and for the community in general,” – emphasizes Christopher Di Rosa, American consultant in the sphere of implementation of targeted solutions for people with disabilities.