Victor Yushchenko outlined child protection priorities during the meeting With Love and Care to Children in Zhytomyr on March 13, president's press office reported.
The President described the problems they had been discussing as “not fatal” but called on those present – ministers, governors, mayors and social workers –to formulate an agenda to resolve these problems and be moral and disciplined to adhere to it.
He complained there were still many violations of children’s property rights in Ukraine and therefore asked the Prosecutor General to monitor the situation in the next thirty days.
Mr. Yushchenko also said it was incumbent on regional authorities to encourage adoption and open family orphanages. He approved a few positive changes in our adoption procedures and expressed hopes a law on adoption would be passed soon to support those who adopt children. He added that the procedure must be free of charge.
The President asked Education Minister Stanislav Nikolayenko, who was attending the meeting, to make sure orphans and those coming from families with many children can study at universities and colleges.
“Financial capabilities cannot and must not be an obstacle for a school graduate who has all reasons to enter a higher education establishment,” he said.
He said the government must help children with particular needs, particularly by reequipping as many buildings as possible, to make their life more comfortable. Mr. Yushchenko also insisted that the status of women having many children be raised. (He presented a few of such women with state awards after the meeting.)
Commenting on speeches by church leaders during the meeting, the President said the church played a pivotal role in the education and upbringing of children.
“I will spare no effort to support your ideas and plans to educate children and support, both spiritually and socially, disabled children,” he promised.
Then he called on the country’s public leaders and journalists to protect children and always see this issue as their priority.
“The aim of this meeting, the third such meeting in the past
two years, is to strike the bell to remind our society of this problem.”
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