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ERR News - A growing trend of parents giving up their children due to poverty has highlighted serious imbalances in how state aid in Estonia is allocated.

Parents are eligible for just 64 euros in state aid per month for their first child and 51 euros per month for every additional child, while orphanages receive 640 euros per child, 30 to 40 percent of which goes directly to child maintenance, Eesti Päevaleht reported.

Whereas earlier drug use and alcoholism were the main reason parents in Estonia handed their children over to state care, now more parents are doing so out of poverty.

Mare Välja, the director of an orphanage in Narva, said that their latest four arrivals had ended up at the institution simply because their parents couldn't afford to take care of them.

Estonian law does not allow parents to give up their children for economic reasons, however local officials often turn a blind eye to the practice in cases of real need.

The Ministry of Social Affairs said that 34,402 people received income support in the first quarter of the year, over ten thousand of them children.

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