Parent schools and comprehensive support: how Moscow administration helps foster families

November 13, 2019
Social sector

World Orphans Day is celebrated worldwide on the second Monday in November. Upbringing orphans and abandoned children in a family is one of the top priorities of social support in Moscow.

How does the city help foster parents?

Since 2014, there is a pilot project of financial support to foster families who have adopted five teenagers and/or children with disabilities running in Moscow. The city provides these families with a spacious multi-room flat in Moscow under a contract of uncompensated use for the time they act as adoptive parents. 39 families have already the this project.

Besides, there are foster parent schools in Moscow. All not blood-related adoptive parents or guardians must complete a training course there. Today, there are 42 schools in Moscow. Over the past three years, they have trained more than 11,000 people.

The city provides free legal, psychological, medical and social support to foster families in each Moscow district. One can get it at one of 57 public organisations, including family and childhood support centres, and resource centres for foster families. Families are also supported by NGOs and charitable foundations that receive government subsidies or grants for projects and programs.

What kind of financial assistance are foster families entitled to? 

Children's allowance for foster families is regularly increased. To date, substitute families monthly receive RUB 16,500 per a child under 12 and RUB 22,000 per a child aged 12-18.

If there are three or more children, a family receives RUB 19,800 for a child under 12 and RUB 25,300 for a child aged 12-18.

For each disabled child, regardless of age, the payment is RUB 27,500.

Monthly, foster parents are paid financial assistance (to one of the foster parents in families with one or two foster children and to both foster parent for each foster child in families with three or more foster children). Now, the assistance makes up RUB 16,700 for each foster child and RUB 28,390 for a disabled child.

Besides, the city reimburses the costs of utility and telephone services and provides free travel on public transport. Also, orphans are annually provided with recreation vouchers. Since 2018, foster children can recreate together with their guardians or foster parents at the city's expense. Substitute family (regardless of the number of foster children) can also receive monetary compensation for a voucher it has bought on its own.

What do the orphanages deal with in Moscow?

Five years ago, Moscow orphanages and boarding schools were reorganised into Family Upbringing Assistance Centres.

The number of children living in institutions has tripled since 2010. In 2010, 4,371 children (25%) lived in the centres, with 12,665 children (75%) living with families. But now the situation has changed: 93% of children are brought up in families and only 7% of children live in orphanages.  

'Current positive trend allows us to reorganise orphanages in upgraded Family Upbringing Assistance Centres. Today, there are 23 such centres in Moscow, and in accordance with the reorganisation program, most of them have already been converted to the family type ones. The space has been arranged to have separate flats for six or eight children living together with adults in charge,' said Anastasia Rakova, Deputy Moscow Mayor in the Moscow Government for social development issues.

Today, there are 20,477 abandoned children in Moscow, of which 19,034 children live in families, with 1,443 children residing in the Family Upbringing Assistance Centres. At the moment, children with disabilities, mental disorders, children from large families live in institutions (according to the law, brothers and sisters cannot be separated). In this case, choice of a family requires a special approach. Child protection services employees work individually with each foster child living in the centre and try to find the best adoptive parents or guardians.

There are also large institutions, including Kuntsevsky, Yuzhnoye Butovo Family Upbringing Assistance Centres, and several smaller ones, such as Petrovsky Park or Sokolyonok for children with disabilities.

All school-age children are either enrolled in comprehensive urban schools or urban remedial classes, or provided home-based education for medical reasons, with teachers visiting them daily at the Family Upbringing Assistance Centre. Specialists regularly hold classes with children who suffer from serious mental disorders, according to individual development programs.

All Centres provide a one-day or five-day stay for a child with disability, even if they live in a family.

'Faith. Hope. Love' Family Upbringing Assistance Centre is now testing another format, a short-term stay group, in which a parent can leave a child with rehabilitation specialists for a few hours a day or stay with him or her in a group, to learn interacting and taking care of a child, guided by competent specialists.


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