Ukraine War Calls for Reinforcement of International Standards in Child Protection and Family Unity

International standards in child protection and family unity must be respected in times of war and mass displacement of children and families.

The ISS international network is working to support children and families affected by the war in Ukraine. ISS deplores the tragic loss of human life, the mass displacement and the scale of human suffering occurring at present. This document provides guidance on how to apply international standards when working with children and their families impacted by this war and other crises.

ISS Australia notes that war and international crises can be breeding grounds for illicit practices around adoption and child trafficking due to limited oversight and the breakdown of regulatory structures, legal norms and civil society. At present in and around Ukraine there is an extreme risk of illicit practices due to the mass movement of children and families impacted by war. We call on all actors to continue to respect and observe international standards around child protection in cross-border situations. The Ukraine Ministry of Social Policy has recently put out a statement which states that current calls for immediate adoptions are fraudulent and a violation of children's rights and that such adoptions require court approval which is not possible at present (March 14 2022).

The relocation of children abroad for inter-country adoption, in times of conflict, is contrary to international law. People need to be absolutely aware that in hastily 'adopting' children internationally in this environment you are likely to be participating in fraud and child trafficking. The focus should always be on providing safe alternative care during times of crisis but maintaining family links and restoring those family links as soon as practically possible.