One of the greatest tragedies of Soviet rule was the status of children, especially those entrusted to state care. The same problem persists today.
Marie-Pierre Poirier recently reported that “Most countries still rely heavily on institutionalization,” with 15,000 children turned over to state care in Eastern Europe and Central Asia every year. The process leaves “lifelong physical and cognitive scars.”
Over time the problem should ease, as countries develop economically and further integrate with the rest of Europe. In the meantime governments need to improve their own policies and Western aid agencies, such as UNICEF, must help fill the many gaps.
Responding to such needs should be a priority. After all, the young—the very future of Central and Eastern Europe—are at risk.