Economic orphans are Greece's youngest victims

In Greece, hard times have overtaken abuse as a cause for referring kids to children's charities

The economy’s youngest victims

Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

A note was left recently at a daycare in Greece. As the Guardian reported, it read: “I will not return to get Anna. I don’t have any money, I can’t bring her up. Sorry.” Signed: “Her mother.”

This sad case of abandonment isn’t unique. Greece is mired in economic decay. Growth is contracting as welfare services are gutted and transformed in accordance with the austerity conditions attached to a massive EU-IMF bailout package (the sixth installment of which—worth more than $10.5 billion—has been secured by the cross-partisan transitional government in Athens). Financial insecurity is haunting families across the country, even creeping into the lives of the middle class. And many parents say they can no longer care for their kids.

Before 2011, nearly all kids taken in by SOS Children in Greece, a charity group for abandoned youth, were victims of abuse. Now, “nearly 100 per cent of new referrals are as a result of a financial crisis in the family,” the organization said in a recent press release.

With an election in the offing, Greek legislators are trying to juggle the demands of their creditors with the needs of the people. It’s a grim compromise, as the country’s children know all too well.

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