1 year of war in Ukraine: SOS Children’s Villages urgently calls for social assistance for displaced people and better care for groups of children who have fled

Financial concerns of Ukrainian families in Austria – Difficult circumstances also for Ukrainian orphanage groups in Austria

Vienna (OTS) – Since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago, millions of Ukrainians have had to leave their homeland – mostly mothers with their children, tens of thousands of whom have fled to Austria. In addition to families, numerous larger groups of children from Ukrainian orphanages also came to Austria. People’s hopes of being able to return home quickly were not realized. “From the beginning, the Austrian state recognized the need to protect Ukrainians, but they are still being allowed to stay in an interim solution that does not allow them to earn a living,” said SOS Children’s Village Managing Director Christian Moser. “In this context, we are particularly critical of the fact that graduates continue to be cared for in the context of basic care and not in the same way as asylum seekers in social assistance”.

“With regard to children’s groups, we see a big problem in the fact that we don’t even know how many of these groups are currently in Austria. Many are accommodated in private rooms and are therefore not connected to the child and youth care service. a supervisory authority that guarantees the well-being of the child”, criticizes Moser. “In both cases, there is an urgent need for action.”

Basic care means 742 euros less than social assistance

Basic care is conceived as a temporary support tool for asylum seekers, yet it is support that applies to this group. As long as people have not been able to start their professional life to the point where they can support themselves and their families, they depend exclusively on this money. “Even if families are finally entitled to Bolsa Família in mid-2022, after a long back and forth, the financial situation is still precarious”, says Moser. The basic benefit currently provides for a maximum of €880 per month for a mother with two children. Within the scope of social assistance, it would be (depending on the federal state) in Vienna, for example, a maximum of 1,622 euros in social assistance. “742 euros is a huge difference. Having this amount or not determines whether the parents are able to pay for an apartment or food for their children or whether they depend on donations”, emphasizes Moser. “It must be clear to all of us that a family of three in Austria cannot live on 742 euros.”

Children from orphanages must live under the supervision of the Child and Youth Welfare Service

Even before the outbreak of war, a particularly large number of children in Ukraine were in so-called out-of-home care, ie in orphanages or similar institutions, for various reasons. Some of these groups have found shelter together with their supervisors in Austria, but until now there has not been a uniform and structured structure for these groups. “We are convinced that children without parental care in Austria should live under child and youth welfare care, regardless of where they come from and whether they travel individually or in larger groups,” says Moser. “It is understandable that in a war situation and as part of emergency relief measures, it is not always possible to provide comprehensive assistance from the authorities from the outset. After a year, however, it is now urgently necessary to transfer the children who have so far been in Austria without child and youth welfare control to suitable care in Austria.”

“Therefore, we have now sent a letter to the provincial councilors responsible for child and youth welfare, asking them to ask the municipalities where and how many children from these groups are currently housed in Austria. In a second step, the best interest of the child can be checked and verified and finally it can be planned how child-friendly care and compliance with the rights of the child can be guaranteed in Austria in the long term.”

Questions and contact:

SOS Children’s Village
Susanne Schoenmayr
+43 676 88144239
[email protected]