In Handy 11:54 22 Mar 2023

Parenting amid war: how to take care of the child's future in advance

Despite the war, thousands of Ukrainian families continue to have children. Each of these families is in danger every day. What can be done to prepare a child for a life where both parents can go to the front, get injured, or die? Rubryka collected some tips.

What is the problem?

Since the start of full-scale military operations in Ukraine, more than 15,500 children have been affected. According to the "Children of the War" state portal, as of January 6, 2023, 453 children were killed due to russia's aggression, and another 877 children were injured. Another four thousand children have lost their parents since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

Rubryka explains how to take care of the child's future in advance and prepare for bad scenarios, including the potential death of their parents.

What is the solution?


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Get medical insurance for the child

Accidents involving children may lead to expensive surgeries and treatment. It is better to take care of a safety cushion in advance — for example, to get accident insurance for the child.

What to pay attention to when choosing insurance for a child:

Time and place of insurance. Some insurances cover incidents that occurred while the child was at school or during sports events. Make sure that the insurance is valid around the clock.

What cases are covered by medical insurance?

Is the insurance valid during martial law, and is it possible to receive funds during the war? War and hostilities do not release the insurer from responsibility, nor do other force majeure circumstances. But they can be a legitimate reason to delay payments until the end of the war or the mentioned circumstances. In this case, the insurer will not be liable and will not pay fines. Find out in advance whether the company will pay the funds for treatment during martial law in the country.

Place of treatment. A child may need medical care in any region of the country, so it is worth paying attention to the number, quality, and location of those medical institutions that can provide service under insurance.

Medicines covered by insurance. Sometimes insurance reimburses only 50% of the cost of registered drugs. There may be other restrictions: for example, the unexpected purchase of original drugs, but only their Ukrainian, cheaper analogs. Therefore, be sure to find out which drugs will be covered by the program and under what conditions.

Amount provided for treatment. It is worth evaluating whether the insurance amount under the program is sufficient for the child, even for serious health problems.

Reputation of the insurance company. Medical insurance, even with very attractive conditions, can be useless if the insurance company does not fulfill its obligations. Pay attention to insurance conditions and the company's reputation. Reputation indicators are work experience, financial indicators, and positive reviews.

Save the stem cells

If you are planning to become parents, take care of the child's health in advance by saving the stem cells of the umbilical cord tissue.

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Stem cells are building blocks for the body; they create a direct link between the baby's good health at birth and their good health in the future. If a child develops medical problems, stem cells may be the key to restoring and maintaining their health.

Stem cells can restore and replace damaged tissues. Already today, with the help of stem cells, it is possible to treat at least 85 different diseases.

For example, if a child develops leukemia after conventional treatment, individual stem cells can be transplanted into the child's body to protect and repair the affected areas. They also have tremendous potential to treat a number of diseases in the future, such as cerebral palsy, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. More than 300 clinical trials (or late-stage research) are currently underway using umbilical cord stem cells, many of which will be a reality within the lifetime of a generation of children born today.

Stem cells of umbilical cord tissue are obtained simultaneously with stem cells of umbilical cord blood. For this, it is only necessary to take a sample of umbilical cord tissue and then process it for further storage in the laboratory. This procedure takes place immediately after the birth of the child. Taking the blood that remains after birth in part of the placenta and the umbilical cord is a simple and safe procedure. It consists in puncturing the umbilical cord tissue (after the newborn has been separated from the umbilical cord) and collecting the remaining blood in the appropriate set. Thus, this simple and short procedure does not threaten the child or the mother.

Create a medical ID on the phone

Medical ID is a term from the Health app on the iPhone, designed to monitor the phone's owner's health and save information for emergencies. The application offers to add important details:

  • date of birth;
  • blood type;
  • existing allergies, including drug allergies;
  • medicines taken by a person;
  • emergency contacts.

Such an app should be installed on the child's phone as soon as they get one. If you configure the program, the phone will provide the necessary information about the owner during an emergency call. Similar programs exist for Android phones, for example, Medical ID.

The availability of such information in an emergency can reduce the time for medical service workers and save lives.

Finances and accomodation

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To provide for the child after coming of age

It is better to ensure that the child is financially secure when they come of age. The earlier the parents start doing it, the better. A convenient tool popular abroad is a children's deposit. Parents leave an amount on deposit that the child can access no earlier than after turning 18 years old. In some banks, parents can independently determine the time of transfer of deposit rights to the child — that is, it can happen when the child turns, for example, 21 years old.

You can find out about the rating of banks according to their stress resistance, loyalty to depositors, and analysts' assessment here; the report is updated quarterly.


Insure your life and home

Such insurance is necessary so that in an accident, your loved ones are financially protected. Such insurance is advised to be taken out if the insured provides financial support for the family. Some types of life insurance cover not only the event of death but also those cases when a person loses his ability to work due to an injury.

Insuring your home if you have your own house or apartment will also add confidence: if something happens to your home, you will have guarantees that you will receive some financial support.


Take care of the custody of the child in the event of the death of both parents

In the event of the death of one of the parents, the other retains the right to custody of the child if they have the appropriate legal capacity and the ability to care for the child. If both parents have died, grandparents, older brothers or sisters, other relatives, and other persons who express such a desire may take custody of the child. However, in Ukraine, the court determines the issue of child custody and always prioritizes relatives first, regardless of the parents' will.

Suppose there are no relatives or willing guardians. In that case, the court will determine a temporary guardian or appoint a person to take care of the child until the issue of a permanent guardian is resolved. In this case, the child's case is referred to the guardianship and care authorities, which determine the guardian and the child's place of residence.

Of course, there is a way to take care of the guardianship in advance. Under the laws of many countries, for example, Great Britain, France, or China, parents can choose a guardian for their children in case of their death. In Ukraine, one can also draw up a similar document at a notary, specifying in the will who can become the child's guardian. However, according to lawyer Oksana Mereshko, the document will not have legal force after the death of the parents, but at the same time, the judge, deciding on guardianship, will still take into account the will of the deceased parents, so there are more chances that this particular person will be appointed guardian. Therefore, photo and video evidence that the person applying for guardianship has good contact with the child will also play a role in the court.

But the most crucial role in determining the guardian is the child's will, which is determined by part 1 of Art. 12 of the UN Convention and Art. 171 of the Family Code. So, the parents should have a gentle conversation with the child about who she would like to stay with.

Make a will

Will the child receive an inheritance if there is no will?

The legislation of Ukraine provides for five stages of the inheritance line. Under Part 2 of Art. 1258 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, each subsequent stage receives the right to inherit in the absence of the heirs of the previous stage, their removal from the right to inherit, and their refusal to accept the inheritance, except for cases of changing the order of obtaining the right to inherit. Within the limits of the same queue, the heirs receive the property of the deceased in equal shares.

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The inheritance line under Ukrainian law. 

In the event of the death of one of the spouses, the deceased's parents, the spouse who survived them, and the children become the heirs in equal parts. This is inheritance by law, i.e., established "by default" without a will.

Do children have the right to inherit if they are not named in the will?

In a will, a person can deprive one of their relatives of the right to inheritance, instead transferring it to another person. At the same time, the sequence or level of kinship does not matter. But in any case, regardless of the content of the will, the minor children of the testator have the right to a mandatory share (half of the share that would belong to each of them in the case of legal inheritance). That is, if one of the spouses owned the sum of $2.7 thousand, outlived the other spouse, and has three minor children, but designated another person as the heir in the will, each of the children is still entitled to $340 of inheritance.

What should a spouse who has children from previous marriages do? 

For such cases, there is a will of the spouses, thanks to which the one who dies earlier can be sure that the other will not issue the property only to their children, leaving the deceased's children with nothing. In addition, the surviving spouse receives the right to inheritance without fear that the children of the deceased may deprive them of their property in any way. Such a will can be revoked only with the mutual consent of the spouses during their lifetime.

You can learn about other nuances of making a will in Rubryka's previous material.

Psychological support

Psychological support groups

  • Join psychological support projects such as the "PORUCH" project for children and parents. These are online and face-to-face psychological support groups for those whose everyday lives have been disrupted by war. PORUCH psychologists help teenagers and parents because parents must take care of themselves and support their children. The project also includes support groups for teachers who continue working with children who need support. 
  • Contact support via phone. The Ministry of Health has created a selection of psychological help hotlines.
  • Other useful information — manuals, necessary contacts, and programs — regarding the psychological support of children and adults during the war can be found at the link.

A letter to the future

Such a letter can give your child confidence and has a therapeutic effect, whether or not you will be with them when they receive it. Family and child psychologist Olha Kolesnikova advises writing such a letter and provides a plan one can rely on when writing it.

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  1. Write about how much you love the child.
  2. Say that you may be wrong.
  3. Share what you might apologize for.
  4. Say how much you value the child.
  5. Explain that all emotions are necessary.
  6. Say what you are thankful for.
  7. Write what you have done wrong.
  8. Say how happy you are to be parents.
  9. Promise you will always be nearby — in your child's heart.

Keep this letter, or give it to those who can pass it on to your child when needed.

This material was created by the online media outlet Rubryka within the framework of the "Ukrainian Rapid Response Fund" program, implemented by IREX, with the support of the US State Department. The content is the sole responsibility of the Rubryka online media outlet and does not necessarily reflect the views of IREX or the US State Department.



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