Broke Greeks giving up their children
Published 10 January 2012
Children in Greece are being abandoned at nursery groups, churches and foster charities because their parents are so hard-up they can no longer care for them, the BBC reports.
The hardship has been brought on by the financial crisis that has caused widespread unemployment and cuts to services across the country.
Four children have been found in the last two months on the doorstep of a youth centre in capital Athens run by Orthodox priest Father Antonios. They include a newborn baby.
The priest said he had hundreds of cases of parents in the last year wanting to leave their children in the centre’s care.
Although parents were putting their children into care even before the crisis, the priest told the BBC that he had not come across children simply being abandoned.
“[The parents] say they do not have any money or shelter or food for their kids, so they hope we might be able to provide them with what they need.”
In another heartbreaking incident, a single unemployed mother called Maria decided to put her child into foster care with charity SOS Children’s Villages after a year of searching for a job. Although she has now found a job in a café, she cannot afford to take her daughter back as she earns just 20 euros (£16) a day.
The charity told the BBC that in the past, parents gave up their children to foster care mainly because of drug and alcohol addiction in the family. Now it is because of poverty. The charity expressed its reluctance, however, to take in children because of economic reasons.
SOS Children's Villages' director of social work, Stergios Sifnyos told the BBC: “You can say you cannot see any problem, [any reason] why this child has to be far away from her mother.
"But it's very difficult for her to feel comfortable to take back the child when she is not sure she will [still] have a job the next days."