Orphan Life in Ukraine

Ukraine has over 100,000 orphans.

Only 10% of these are orphaned due to death of a parent; the rest are social orphans due to alcoholism, abandonment, or imprisonment of parents.

Every year, more than 2,000 mothers abandon their babies in maternity hospitals. Between 6 and 7 thousand more are abandoned at an older age or removed from home due to crime or neglect.

Many social orphans have experienced abuse and violence from parents who were drug addicts or alcoholics.

Orphans typically grow up in large state-run homes, which may house over 200 children. Many children run away from these homes, preferring to live on the street.

Children usually graduate from these institutions between 15 and 16 years old and are turned out, unprepared for life outside the home.

About 10% of them will commit suicide after leaving the orphanage before their 18th birthday.

60% of the girls will end up in prostitution. Those who run prostitution rings target orphaned girls, who are especially vulnerable due to their lack of options and lack of people who care what happens to them. Though promised good jobs,they end up on the streets and brothels of cities across Europe.

70% of the boys will enter a life of crime. Many of these will die young of violence or end up in prison. Most inmates contract TB in prison.

Ukraine is now encouraging long-term foster care in private homes as an alternative to large state-run orphanages, but it will likely take years for reforms to offerany meaningful change for many children.

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