The Oak Life Journal
Nov | Dec 2022
(Led by Isaiah Cory, our News Feed covers major stories and developments in international orphan care. We believe staying up-to-date is important for every orphanage director and caregiver, as these events can teach us, warn or encourage us, and indirectly impact our homes.)
Ukraine Update: Missing Children & Russia's Involvement
Missing Children in Ukraine.
According to reporting from The Independent, the Ukrainian government has yet to track 26,000 social orphans who were returned to parents or legal guardians at the start of the Russian invasion.
These are not the only children to go momentarily unaccounted for by the government. A number of children transferring from institutions at-risk of violence to other institutions hundreds of miles away, had their location unregistered for 40 days.
These lapses in tracing leave children more vulnerable to abuse and trafficking. With the help of UNICEF and a local charity, social workers are visiting the children who were sent home. So far, no children have been reported as missing, though some have been rehoused.
Russia Taking Children.
In a separate story, the governor of the Luhansk region in Eastern Ukraine alleged that 76 orphan children in Luhansk were taken by Russian forces to social rehabilitation centers in Moscow and, as of October 1, another 104 orphans were being prepared for transfer to Russian families. The message was posted on Telegram.
The World Can't Even Agree on Terms Like "Youth," Report Shows, Impacting Ability to Make Improvements in Alternative Care
We can’t agree on terms.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) published a report in October about issues facing statistics on children and youth. Chapter 4 of the report addresses the data gaps and other issues on children in alternative care.
One of the key findings is that international comparison of data is unworkable. There are no standard definitions for many of the terms or classifications in alternative care. Even for terms as common as “youth,” or classifying sub-types of family-based care like foster or kinship care. These terms are not consistent across—or sometimes even within—countries.
In addition, disaggregation variables like age and sex are not standardized. For example, reporting from one survey may discuss children ages 5-7, while another survey discusses children ages 5-13, so there is no way to compare the two data sets.
Studies are inconsistent.
The report also discusses methodologies. It is often the case that surveys—even those which focus on children—sample private households and do not get data from children in institutionalized care. Administrative data collected by the state is one source of data but the quality of this data varies greatly from state to state and will require work and investment by states to improve.
Why this matters.
The UN Sustainable Development Goal Indicators of the 2030 agenda do not presently include any indicators for children in alternative care. Since “what gets measured, gets improved”, these data issues must be addressed so useful indicators can be developed and used for collaboration and goal-setting at the international level.
Read the full report with the commission’s key findings and recommendations at: UNECE.org
JustEnergy Providing Solar Panels to Orphanages
Electrical engineer Brian Thomas and environmental engineer Kayla Garrett joined Mind Matters podcast host Robert J. Marks to discuss their company, JustEnergy, which provides solar power systems to non-profits like schools, hospitals and orphanages in Haiti. They discussed the benefits of solar technology in a climate such as is found on the island of Hispaniola and what needs the latest solar systems are capable of meeting.
While JustEnergy operates in Northern Haiti, you may find there are other organizations which may help your residential or community facility reduce the variable overhead costs of electricity with solar.