June 10, 2024

Care for Carers: new horizons in promoting family care

Our work in the field of foster care has seen significant growth and development in 2024, expanding its impact through new partnerships and initiatives. Key highlights are progress with promoting emergency foster care, collaboration on a guide for Social Workers at new Resilience Centres, and the start of a partnership with the Dzherelo Centre and UNICEF Ukraine to improve social services in Lviv, Zakarpattia and Volyn Regions.

Promoting emergency foster care

We believe that family is the best environment for a child, so we actively promote foster care, also for emergencies while decisions are made about a child’s future. Emergency foster care provides short-term care for children who are at immediate risk with very short notice: in Ukraine this service is called a Patronat family. Due to a shortage of Patronat families, children needing temporary care often end up in shelters - institutional facilities. This brings a higher risk of trauma and also of a child remaining in institutional care.

Last year, we launched the promotion of Patronat family care in Zolochiv, which we are building on this year, while also introducing promotion in Zhovkva. Promotion involved educating people in District Councils who make decisions about social care, while reaching the wider community through meetings, radio interviews and posters.

We created a new Resource section on our website to explain different types of foster care in Ukraine, as this information was not easily accessible. Not only is emergency foster care better for children, it can provide families with a needed source of income. Other Districts are recognising the potential and we are responding to their invitations to help promote Patronat care in their communities.

Sofia Furtak Perdomo helps to promote emergency family care by educating decision makers and potential care givers.

Contributing our expertise to improve children’s care

Our team is part of the expert group who are providing recommendations for the manual for social workers at Resilience Centers. This was achieved in close cooperation with the Ukrainian Education Platform. Our colleagues Sofia Perdomo and Oksana Mishchenko have valuable expertise and experience in social work to contribute. The manual will be used in new Resilience Centers for social services which are being created in communities across Ukraine.

A new partnership with Dzherelo Centre for Social Services, UNICEF Ukraine and Care in Action aims to strengthen social support for children and their families in the Lviv, Zakarpattia and Volyn Regions. Reforms mean that local communities have more responsibility for social care. However, communities have reduced budgets in wartime, despite the increased demand for social services. This is an important time to ensure a program of care for children at community level.

As part of Lviv’s Child Protection Commission, as Expert Advisor to the Centre for the Coordination of Family Care, and as Program Coordinator for the partnership with Dzherelo and UNICEF, our colleague Iryna Shemechko works towards improving standards in social services for children.

Yulia Pryima (L), who manages mentoring for parentless children, and Iryna Shemechko (R) at a platform hosted by the Centre for the Coordination of Family Care. By sharing our expertise we are having a growing impact on improving social care for children.

Supporting foster parents

We want to highlight the hugely important work that foster parents do. We understand that they need support too, so our online Therapy Support Groups operate in seven regions for 65 foster parents: Lviv, Cherkasy, Ivano-Frankivsk, Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, and Vinnytsia. Specialist psychotherapists work with these groups to ensure the best outcomes for children in care. According to carers, these groups are essential for resource recovery, emotional healing, and peer-to-peer experience sharing.

"Thank you so much for your support groups! They help me overcome difficulties and inspire me to be a good mother to my children,” said Tetyana, a foster mother.

We are grateful to partners, communities, and donors for working with us, so together we can have a positive impact on care for children in the Lviv Region and across Ukraine.

Along with Support Groups, foster parents value the highly relevant and easy to use parenting training in our Providing a Secure Base training course. From 2019 – 2023, this training was given to 1,309 carers in 19 of the 24 Regions of Ukraine. (more info here)


Sponsor a child

You can sponsor a child in Ukraine or Malawi and change their life for the better with a monthly donation of €30. In this time of crisis more children need the security of regular sponsorship to support their education and meet their basic needs.