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Street Children and Orphans in Eastern Europe : 

Street Children and Orphans in Eastern Europe Tatiana Balachova, Ph.D. Barbara Bonner, Ph.D. University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Sheldon Levy, Ph.D. Brown University

Categories of Children Who are Not in Parental Care: 

Categories of Children Who are Not in Parental Care Street/homeless children (UNICEF, 1986) Children on the street Children of the street Children in substitute care Institutionalized children

Definition of Street Children: 

Definition of Street Children "Any girl or boy for whom the street …has become his or her habitual abode and/or source of livelihood, and who is inadequately protected, supervised, or directed by responsible adults." (Ortiz et al., 1992)

Background prior Perestroika: 

Background prior Perestroika No Street Children in “Developed” Soviet Societies “State is taking excellent care of orphans” No recognition of physical/sexual child abuse Severe child neglect recognized Data on negative issues were closed State control on parents’ response to a child’s needs Medical care provided for all children by the state National newborn home visitation programs

Care for Orphans and Street Children in Soviet Union: 

Care for Orphans and Street Children in Soviet Union Police Collection and Distribution Departments (“Priemnic-Raspredelitel”) in big cities Baby’s home (“Dom Rebyenka)” state orphanages for infants age 0-4 Children’s home (“Dyetskii Dom” or “Internat”) state orphanages/institutions for children age 5-17 Boarding institution (“Spets-Internat” (“Psychoneurological Internat”) for physically or mentally disabled children age 5-17

Impact of the Transition: 

Impact of the Transition Greater democracy and freedom Economic impact fall in wages and family income /37% of Russians’ income below living wage (Russian minister of Labor and Social Development report to the Duma/Parlament, Oct. 2000) rising unemployment extremes of income inequality >>>>Poverty Over 160 million people or 40% of the region population live in poverty (European Children’s Trust, Oct. 11, 2000) 50 million of them children 40 million of these children live in the former Soviet Union

Impact of the Transition: 

Impact of the Transition Loss of social safety network Health crisis increase in mortality rates / nearly 25% of the population will not reach the age of 60 (European Children’s Trust, October 11, 2000) poor health disruption of health care system Education (schools and day care) lack of resources falling enrollment and attendance

Number of Street Children: 

Number of Street Children Romania Estimated up to 20,000 street children in Romania (beginning of 1999, 5.2 million children age 0-17 in Romania) Russia Estimated from 1 to 4 million street children Estimated 50,000 children run away from their homes every year (beginning of 1999, 34.9 million children age 0-17 in Russia)

Dynamics of the Numbers: 

Dynamics of the Numbers Russia - number of registered orphans between 1993 and 1997 increased by 30% - number residing in institutions increased by 35% - children in foster families (mostly relatives) 46% - number adopted was consistent, increased by 2% Romania Abandonment of children in state institutions has increased between 1990 and 1995 by 26 percent (Child Hope)

Street Children, Children in Shelters and Institutions: Who are They?: 

Street Children, Children in Shelters and Institutions: Who are They? 90-95 % of children in orphanages are “social orphans” who have a living parent (UNICEF, 1997) 98 % children in shelters have a living parent (Balachova, 1994)

Factors that Drive Children Away from Home: Alcohol Abuse: 

Factors that Drive Children Away from Home: Alcohol Abuse Most children in shelters reported parents’ alcohol abuse (Balachova, 1994) Most children in state-run institutions had a parent who was either alcoholic or had legal problems with authorities (Gribanova, 1988) 82 % of alcoholic fathers were found to be aggressive (verbally threatening and physically violent) toward their children (Christov & Toteva, 1989)

Factors that Drive Children Away from Home: Physical Abuse and Neglect: 

Factors that Drive Children Away from Home: Physical Abuse and Neglect 92% of street children reported that they had run away from their families or institutions because of physical or other abuse (Jhumki Basu, 1998) Preschool enrolment rates dropped between 1989 and 1999 by 10% in Russia, 21% in Ukraine, 15% in Albania, and 29% in Moldova (UNISEF report, 8, 2001) 5% of primary school students in Russia are out of school (UNISEF Report, 1999)

Children in State-Run Institutions: 

Children in State-Run Institutions Children in institutions are at significant risk of premature death (Ministry of Labor and Social Development) With higher death rates in Internats for mentally disabled children (UNICEF) Approximately 30% of children in special institutions for disabled die before they reach age 18 (Ukraine, 1996, Human Rights Watch)

Children in State-Run Institutions: 

Children in State-Run Institutions Mortality rate is due in part to crowding, poor hygiene, and low standards of care (UNICEF) Many children are at increased risk from their underlying conditions The incidence of malnutrition disorders, rickets, and anemia increased in “Infants’ Homes” by 75% respectively between 1989-1994 (UNICEF)

Children in State-Run Institutions: 

Children in State-Run Institutions From 5 to 7 times more likely to have behavioral, cognitive, and communication problems than children in general population 65% have mental retardation or learning problems (Shipitsina, Ivanov, & Vinogradova, 1997)

Children in State-Run Institutions: Outcomes: 

Children in State-Run Institutions: Outcomes On graduation from a state institution for mentally disabled at age 18 18.3% became vagrants 10% involved in crime 10% committed suicide (Alternative Report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, October 1998)

Elements of New System: 

Elements of New System Shelters and social-rehabilitation centers have sprung up to provide a more “humanistic system” Alternatives to institutional care are in their infancy foster care family group homes family reunification programs

Recommendations Primary Prevention: 

Recommendations Primary Prevention Public education to increase awareness of child abuse and neglect, and to alter public attitudes toward orphans Parenting programs for parents Training for primary health care & child care professionals Reestablish after school & community programs

Recommendations Secondary Prevention: 

Recommendations Secondary Prevention Services for children with special needs & their families Services for single parents, multiple children families, and other families at risk Early intervention for families of alcoholics and drug addicts

Recommendations Tertiary Prevention: 

Recommendations Tertiary Prevention Services for street children with interventions on different levels street work shelters foster families Establishing of child abuse reporting and investigation system System of short- and long- term substitute care with respect of children’s needs/rights & deinstitutionalization Training on CAN for staff at institutions/shelters

Policy Recommendations : 

Policy Recommendations Development of child protection laws & procedures Definition of child abuse & neglect Reporting laws Punishment for offenders Protection for victims Investigation procedures Mandatory treatment services