‘Money follows the child’, Ukraine

Focus 13: Financing care to avoid unwarranted placements

In common with other countries of the former Soviet Union, alternative care for children in Ukraine was essentially provided in institutional facilities. In order to develop family- based and family-type care settings, the way in which care provision was funded was a significant obstacle to overcome. Institutional care – as well as being the easiest to organise – was funded from the central State budget, although managed by local authorities. Local authorities did not have the flexibility to redirect resources to other forms of care.

An important element of Presidential Decree 1086 of July 2005 on priority measures to improve child protection concerned the development of a ‘mechanism to finance maintenance costs for orphans and children deprived of parental care’ using alternative family-base care, referred to as ’money follows the child’. The basic aim was to provide greater funding opportunities for family-based care, family-type homes and foster care.

As this programme was rolled out experimentally, and while the flexibility it introduced was seen as a positive first step, the Government and its partners have also become aware of some of its limitations. Specifically the subsidies are directed at existing care providers rather than as a means of encouraging innovative and cost-effective responses, and they concern only children who are taken into alternative care, with the result that they may not motivate efforts to keep children out of the alternative care system altogether.

Consequently, there is currently a concerted move to determine how the resource allocation system might be further refined to best meet these challenges.

For more information, see: http://www.unicef.org/ceecis/BilsonCarterReportFinal.pdf

International Social Service, Oak Foundation, SOS Children's Villages International, unicef, ATD Fourth World, Better Care Network, Family for every child, ngo group for the crc, PEPFAR, RELAF, Save the Children, USAID