Families Find a Way: Children with Disabilities in War-Torn Ukraine

Disability Rights International, Disability Rights Ukraine

DRI asked more than 500 families living in Ukraine what they are now experiencing during the war and what they need. In interviews with DRI staff, parents lay out all the difficult challenges and barriers they face. These interviews provide a blueprint of the change that must occur – by governments, donors, policymakers, caregivers, and communities during the war and recovery process.

In addition to a structured survey, DRI conducted 24 in-depth interviews and two focus groups with parents. A number of parents also consented to the use of photos and in-depth portraits. The survey drew respondents from every oblast in Ukraine. Taken ten months into the start of the war, 20% of respondents were internally or externally displaced. This survey, supplemented by interviews and quotes we draw from them, provides a vivid picture of the challenges faced by families that can be used to guide improved governmental policies and urgently needed international assistance.

Despite the recommendations of DRI and our partners in the international community, families report a decline in essential services. While the government provides support to children in institutions at a cost of more than $500/month, the support for children with high support needs living with families is no more than $300/month. The government continues to support institutions at the expense of families – creating incentives to give up children and place them in institutions