Ukraine orphans: A life trapped in care

BBC News

When orphans in Ukraine reach adulthood, some are deemed "incapacitated" - a label that consigns them to a life in institutions. But many of these young people may have nothing wrong with them at all. It is an official classification in Ukraine that critics say strips the bearer of basic human rights.

Being labelled "incapacitated" means that when someone designated as such reaches the age of 18, rather than leaving residential care, they are sent to live in psychiatric institutions or old people's homes. An independent sociological institute in the city of Kharkiv, which has been assessing the country's psychiatric institutes, says that up to 20% of those deemed "incapacitated" are perfectly able individuals. It believes many of these social orphans are locked up in an institutional system that doesn't have the resources or the will to assess them properly.