Number of children remaining in orphanages in Latvia stays high

Last year the number of children who remained in out of family care institutions reduced by 53. Nevertheless, the number of children who still remain in orphanages and other similar institutions was 568 in 2021, according to the report presented by the Ministry of Welfare to the government On the State of Children in the Country in 2019 and 2020.
Last year the number of children staying at foster families reduced as well.
In total, when compared to 2019, the number of such children in Latvia has declined by 248. Last year the number of children staying in foster families was 6 004.
«Our data details positive trends and progress on our way to our goal – Latvia without orphanages. This development direction encourages me to continue our established policy and put every effort into making sure children do not end up in institutions and children who live outside a family environment are provided families as best we can,» says Minister of Welfare Gatis Eglītis.
At the same time, the politician said
the report also details sad news, which indicate both accidents and insufficient care of children, as well as indifference from adults or negligence of child care.
The document also mentions there is an increasing trend for child adoption in Latvia and a reducing trend of children being adopted to foreign countries. Last year a total of 144 children were adopted in Latvia. Of them 117 were adopted in Latvia and 27 were adopted to foreign countries. The number of foster families and children staying in foster families continued increasing last year. At the end of 2020 there were 752 foster families and 1 377 children in those families.
The number of children who fell victim to different crimes also reduced in 2020. Compared to the year prior, 54 children fewer were victims in different crimes. The number of minors who committed different crimes had also reduced last year.
Unfortunately, there was also an increase of the number of children who died in road accidents. Ten children died in various road accidents in Latvian in 2020, which is five more that the year prior.
The number of drowned children increased as well – 13 (four in 2019). The report also mentions more than 100 children are born to mothers younger than 18 years every year.
The number of artificial abortions among underage girls had increased as well. Lately there has been an increase of the number of cases when teenagers consumed narcotics of various type, according to the ministry.
On 16 December, the Saeima passed in the final reading amendments to the law on protection of rights of the child, which provide changes to regulations that govern child adoption to foreign countries.