Children’s Ombudsman says orphanage system needs to be reformed
After inspecting several orphanages in various regions across Russia, the office of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights, along with various doctors and social activists, determined that there were many irregularities in the activities of these institutions.
As reported by Anna Kuznetsova, the Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights, this suggests that the orphanage system is in need of some tough choices.
Kuznetsova stressed that “it is about reforming the orphanage system, about a new approach, so that there is an opportunity to help the children within these institutions to reach their full potential”.
The day before, the Commissioner payed a visit to the Kolchuginsky orphanage in the Vladimir region, currently home to 202 children. Experts noted that the children’s state of health suffers due to lack of proper care. In particular, competent medical care was not provided to those in need. Many children received identical diagnoses after individual medical examinations that were inconsistent with the results of other assessments.
For example, the Commission’s website reports that “one of the orphanage residents has a congenital malformation of the pancreas; an operation was performed, but according to the medical documentation containing the results of the examination, there were no structural changes to the child’s pancreas”.
A separate group of children needed inpatient examination, clarification of their diagnosis and appropriate treatment. They are seriously ill. They will be sent for inpatient examination and treatment in Moscow and Vladimir.
In addition, proper medical nutrition for children with deficiencies is simply absent, and there is no position on staff for a nutritional nurse. This is despite the assertion by experts that this specialist is necessary for the children’s sufficient physical development. There is also no neurologist or physiotherapist.
“Such violations are unacceptable. We must ensure the re-examination of children by the doctors of the Regional Children’s Hospital of Vladimir, and provide support for children with specialists: a neurologist, an allergist, a dietician,” said Anna Kuznetsova.
It turns out that the guardianship authorities have not checked on the living conditions of the wards of this orphanage, and that money has been withdrawn from the personal accounts of the residents despite the fact that, according to the law, the state must wholly provide for orphans.
A meeting with representatives from ministries and departments of the Vladimir region was held in the orphanage to discuss the results of the audit. Kuznetsova stressed that the violations found should be eliminated as soon as possible.
Earlier, at the meeting of the Board of Trusteeship under Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, head of Rostrud Vsevolod Vukolov said that, when checking orphanages, it was discovered that the children often did not have winter clothes and therefore could not go outside. Hygiene is almost completely absent in adults’ and children’s institutions, and residents very rarely have their hair and nails cut.