The Law of Ukraine
On Protection of Childhood
Date of Entry into Force:
June 6, 2001
The Law “On Protection of Childhood” (hereinafter referred to as “the Law”) defines protection of childhood in Ukraine as a strategic national priority and sets general grounds for state policy in this field with the purpose of ensuring the exercise of child's rights to life, healthcare, education, social security and comprehensive development.
The tasks of the legislation on protection of childhood shall be expanding social and legal guarantees for children, ensuring physical, intellectual and cultural development of young generation, establishing social economic and legal institutions for the purpose of protecting child's rights and legal interests in Ukraine.
Regardless of their race, skin color, sex, language, religion, political or other beliefs, national, ethnic or social origin, financial standing, state of health and childbirth, as well as their parents or any other circumstances, all children on the territory of Ukraine shall have equal rights and freedoms. The state shall guarantee that all children have equal access to free legal aid necessary to ensure the protection of their rights.
Each child shall have the right to:
- life from the moment of identifying it a live-birth and viable infant according to the criteria of the World Health Organization. The state shall guarantee the child the right to healthcare, free qualified medical aid in state and communal healthcare institutions, contribute to the establishment of safe conditions for life and healthy development of a child, rational nutrition, the formation of skills for healthy living;
- name and citizenship;
- living standards sufficient for its physical, intellectual, moral, cultural, spiritual, and social development. Parents or individuals substituting them shall bear responsibility for establishing necessary conditions for comprehensive development of a child;
- free expression of its opinion, the formation of its own opinions, the development of its own public activity, and obtaining information that corresponds to its age;
- freedom, personal immunity and protection of dignity. Discipline and order in the family, educational and other children's institutions shall institute the principles of mutual respect, justice and be exclusive of humiliating a child's dignity and honor;
- living in a family together with parents or in a family of one of the parents and being in their care. Father and mother shall have equal rights and obligations with respect to their children. Securing interests of their child shall be the central point of care and key obligations of the parents. Family is the natural environment for physical, spiritual, intellectual, cultural, and social development of a child, and its financial support;
- inheriting property and financial assets of the parents or one of them according to the procedure established by the law, in case one of them dies or a court recognizes them dead regardless of the place of residence;
- education. The state shall guarantee accessible and free pre-school, complete secondary, vocational and higher education in state and communal educational facilities and the provision of state scholarships and privileges to students of these facilities;
- uniting into independent children's and youth public organizations. Local bodies of executive power and bodies of local self-government shall assist children's organizations and associations and contribute to their operation.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine shall identify key grounds for protection of childhood in this field by approving relevant general state programs. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine shall:
- implement government policy on protection of childhood;
- develop and implement general state targeted programs for social security and improving the standing of children;
- coordinate activities of central and local bodies of executive power in the field of protection of childhood.
The state shall assist legal entities and natural persons in their activities aimed at improving the standing of children, protecting their rights and interests, encourage the development of all forms of children-related charity, patronage and sponsorship by way of providing tax, investment, customs, credit, and tariff privileges.
It shall be allowed to employ children after they are aged 16. Children who are aged 15 may be employed at facilities, which do not harm their health and do not affect their education, upon consent of one of their parents or the individual substituting the parents. It shall be prohibited to engage children in hard work and in activities performed in harmful or dangerous environment, as well as in underground works. Children aged 16 shall have the right to engage in entrepreneurial activity, to be members of a collective agricultural enterprise and members of a rural farm.
The state shall provide parents and individuals substituting them with social benefits envisaged by the Law of Ukraine “On State Aid to Families with Children” and other laws of Ukraine for the purpose of establishing appropriate financial conditions for bringing up children in families. According to the procedure determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, families with children shall be provided with discounted long-term loans for purchasing residential premises, durable goods and for housing construction.
The State shall secure the child's right to reside in sanitary hygienic and living conditions that do not harm its physical and mental development.
The state shall ensure the provision and upbringing for orphan children and children deprived of parental care. Orphan children and children deprived of parental care shall be handed over for care or custody, for adoption or for upbringing in families of citizens (foster homes), to children's homes, infant homes, state boarding schools, family-type children's homes for full state provision. Inmates of such facilities shall be provided with the necessary conditions for their comprehensive and harmonious development and preparation for independent life and work. The state shall guarantee financial support for children handed over for care or custody, to family-type children's homes and foster homes.
A significant part of provisions of the Law is dedicated to state measures aimed at protecting handicapped children and children with physical or mental impairments. Thus, the state shall assist in establishing necessary conditions for handicapped children and with physical or mental impairments. The state shall also assist in creating equal opportunities, compared to other citizens, for their full-fledged life and development and provide them with the relevant financial support, etc.
Ukraine shall participate in international cooperation on protection of childhood and protection of a child's legal rights according to the norms of the international law. If an international agreement, approved as mandatory by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, sets rules different from those established by the Ukrainian legislation on protection of childhood, the rules of such international agreement shall apply.