Partnership for Every Child

Our vision is the world where every child grows up in a lovely and secure family. Mission. We professionally assist families, communities and governments in their work to ensure the rights of every child to live and develop in safe and secure family environments. Our main focus until 2015 is to prevent separation of children from families and placement in institutional care; support and strengthening parental capacities of vulnerable families; support to children leaving care.
Aug 14, 2013

Spread the word: "Fostering works"

Recent pictures made by Alina, 9.
Recent pictures made by Alina, 9.

This summer has brought us another amazing story that we cannot wait to share with you. When Social Services discovered nine year old Alina*, she was living in a tent with her Mum and a dozen of other construction workers in the middle of the building site in one of the recently developed residential areas in Kyiv, Ukraine. The girl knew her own name and the names of her parents, but that was about it. At the age of 9, Alina has never been to school and lived in the constant fear of being discovered by the police and sent to an orphanage.

Thanks to the work of the “Vital Emergency Fostering for Children in Ukraine” project and your kind donations, Alina has been placed into a loving foster care family who started gradual but persistent work with the girl to develop her handwriting and reading skills. By August, Alina was able to read fluently in both Russian and Ukrainian. She could also write short sentences and was keen on drawing beautiful bright pictures, full of flowers, hearts and kittens.

After her placement into short-term foster care in May 2013, Alina has also received professional psychological treatment to help a girl overcome permanent frustration and anxiety and to cope with the nightmares. She has had a full medical examination to retrieve her immunisation history and completed medical tests needed for school that hopefully she will start this September. 

Staying in the short-term foster care gives a girl hope to reunite with her Mum who is currently overcoming the problems that have separated them. Natalia, Alina's biological Mum, with support of the project worker, has renewed her passport, Alina’s birth certificate and other paperwork needed for a girl to be able to go to school for the first time in her life. At the moment Natalia is undergoing rehabilitation course from her alcohol dependence. Both Alina and her Mum are looking forward to their big future together. “I miss Mummy and once she finds a new house for us I want to show her my new school and to make her proud”, - says Alina. 

Alina is just one of the many children this project is supporting. As little as $28 will cover a salary for a foster carer to look after children like Alina who are in need of urgent protection. By supporting this project, you are not only helping to ensure this caring families work, but also enable parents in difficult life situations who are not able to look after their own kids to rebuild their lives and to begin their stories anew and together. Please spare whatever you can - be it your time, donation, sharing this link on your blogs, social networks, just merely bringing us up in a conversation - everything would count! Spread the word and the fostering WILL work. 

Thanks to all who are making happy endings to our stories possible.

 *The name has been changed to protect a child’s confidentiality.  

Alina
Alina's pictures before placement in foster care
After receiving professional help pictures changed
After receiving professional help pictures changed

Links:

Jun 19, 2013

We wish we could have stayed longer!

Celebrating school and project year completion!
Celebrating school and project year completion!

Such words were particularly popular among 40 participants of the forest camp "Sure Start: Together Towards Success”. Being a part of the social integration programme for the young people soon to leave residential care, the camp was held on 25-26 May 2013 on a campsite in a beautiful forest nearby Kyiv Sea. As a supporting team, we involved young volunteers and social workers for the joint activities. The event has become the logical culmination of a series of meetings of the youth clubs "How to Become Successful".

Our aim was to create new opportunities for the participants to develop self-reliance and life skills needed for the independent living.

The agenda was busy and consisted of various tasks and challenges enabling young care leavers to enhance their communication and adaptation skills, abilities to work in a team, to plan and to achieve goals.

For two days, participants have been exploring tourist life, participating in sports challenges and overcoming obstacles in teams. For many of them, it was for the first time that they learnt how to build a “mini-house” in woods, how to go over imaginary rivers and canyons using ropes with full camping equipment or how to cook dinner on fire. Young care leavers learnt how to navigate by compass, provide first aid or go kayaking.

The teams performed their tasks in individual and joint efforts, which made them more united, supporting and stretching out helping hands to one another. During the camp, the participants were doing quizzes, playing games, meditating, dreaming, fantasizing, learning new things and rethinking the familiar ones.  For example, is there anything more precious than money in life? The answers were very spontaneous and straightforward. It appeared that the most treasured possession was their families, friend, good health, love, happiness, freedom and even ... sincere smiles of others. Finally, we invited young people to make a team collage depicting personal dreams and plans. Such bridge between present and future has inspired the participants to think about their future, setting themselves up for tomorrow's lives. We thank most warmly all of you who donated to support this fantastic project helping Ukrainian care leavers to begin independent life outside institutions.

 I liked that we were overcoming various difficulties, but we stayed as a whole team.          
(Oleksandr, Ivankiv Region)

The camp was fun: we were having competition in teams, cooking our own food. Especially I liked when we gathered around the campfire in the night and talked about everything that we were looking for and was awaiting us in the future. (Yurii, Bila Tserkva City)

I liked the forest camp because I made many new friends and had a fantastic time. (Sergiy, Ivankiv Region)

 

Summer camp was the last event Sure Start held for the care leavers in this school year. We hope they enjoy their school holidays and are looking forward to meeting them back in September. 
...
Finally, with your generous and continuous donations we reached our goal and raised the 8,000 USD needed to provide support for 180 Ukrainian orphans leaving residential care in 4 areas within Kyiv Region. The money you have been helping us to raise since December 2011 were used towards organising 2 summer camps for 80 young people in May 2012 and May 2013, conducting 45 meetings of the youth clubs during January - May 2012 and September 2012 - May 2013 school terms, as well as renovating accommodation for 2 young people who left care in 2012.
Our partnership easily proved one valid point, Sure Start is possible, when it begins together, with your help. We appreciate it very much and THANK YOU again for your generous support!  
  Participation of young people and volunteers
Participation of young people and volunteers

Links:

May 13, 2013

You + Us = A Loving Family for Every Child

What is the best place for a child to grow up in?
What is the best place for a child to grow up in?

Two and a half year old Artur* and his little brother Zhenia* have been placed in emergency fostering due to potential threat to their lives. Found by the Services for Children, the boys were severely neglected with visible signs of developmental delays and malnutrition. For 30 months old Artur, everything around was described with a single word ‘allo’, while 18 months old Zhenia was not able to even crawl because of exhaustion and weakness. In a weeks’ time their foster parents write in a diary: “Artur started saying first words: “please”, “open the door”, “let’s eat”. He turns into a real chatterbox, learning some new words every day... When I brought him some new clothes from the shop and he tried them on, I commented how nice he looks in it. From then on, I couldn’t stop Artur, he kept asking “Nice?”, pointing at various things. The boy is very affectionate, he easily responds to love and care…” As for little Zhenia, the first thing was to resume his eating skills – due to starvation he lost his chewing reflex – and to return his physical stamina to continue developing gross and motor skills. After a month of their stay in foster care the care-givers noted a record progress: “It has become Zhenia’s duty to remind everyone that it’s meal time. He crawls into a kitchen chair and starts banging with his feeding plate on a table as if to say “Time to eat, Mommy”.

For children like Artur and Zhenia, with your support and generous donations, we run vital emergency fostering services – unprecedented and pioneering care solution in Ukraine. They are a proof that a safe and caring family environment is the best place for a child, essential for their growth and development. Unfortunately, for many Ukrainian children they are still not available since there is simply no concept of short-term foster care. Each month within Kyiv city alone there are 10 to 12 children in an emergency situation at risk of being deprived of parental care and placed in residential care. Practice shows that 9 out of 10 children tend to remain in residential care for significantly longer than the initially negotiated 6 months’ period. Lack of competence causes many instances where the family crisis remains professionally unresolved. 

In January 2013, three siblings – 6 year old Nastia*, 3 year old Ivanko* and 2 year old Olenka* were placed in the short-term foster care to protect them from risks to their health and lives. Their mother, uncle and grandmother were having severe alcohol dependence; children were exposed to violence and neglect. “Their conditions were petrifying, - says Larysa, an emergency foster carer of the children. Olenka could only eat biscuits and could sit on the chair for hours without moving. Ivanko did not talk and couldn’t recognise any attachment to his sisters. While Nastia was threating to run away and refused to listen at the beginning.” Three months onwards: “Olenka is very curious and sociable, she likes role playing with her dolls and eating grown up meals: soups, meatballs and pasta. Ivanko is attached to his foster “Daddy”, who jokingly calls him “my tail”. He enjoys going to the kindergarten with his little sister.” In Nastia’s case, because of traumatic experience of domestic violence she was receiving professional counselling which enabled her better recovery. In April 2013, children found the new family who adopted the siblings due to their biological mother’s inability and unwillingness to take care of children.

Currently, we are working on recruiting new foster families and training professionals to support more kids like Nastia, Ivan, Olenka, Artur and Zhenia. We really appreciate your help with this project which we recently started on GlobalGiving. Only $10 pay for 1 hour of counselling to help a child cope with the traumatic experience. Just over $200 will pay for an emergency foster care to keep 1 vulnerable child safe for a month. Your donations will not only help us to provide crisis care to children in need, they will also send a powerful message of your belief that loving homes and caring families are the best place for children.

We are so grateful!

* All names of the children have been changed to protect confidentiality. The children pictured are not the subject of the case study stories.

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