Duma passes first reading of bill on joint custody
The bill aims to modernise the way the system of guardianship and custody over citizens recognised as incapable or considered legally ‘lacking capacity’, as well as children living in orphanages, is organised.
The State Duma passed, at first reading, a draft federal law that introduces the possibility of appointing several guardians for citizens considered legally ‘lacking capacity’ and citizens that are not fully capable. The document was submitted as a proposal to the State Duma in September 2015. In accordance with the bill, both individuals and legal entities, including socially-oriented non-profit organisations, would be able to act as guardians.
“First of all – these are parent organisations working for 15 – 20 years for the benefit of their children. They have experience in providing services that are not currently offered by state organisations. For example, they look after those living at home or in conditions close to those of non-disabled or legally capable people, supervising the finding of employment and the work of those who are not able to compete in the open labour market. When NGO efforts are added to those of external guardians and parents, a person considered legally ‘lacking capacity’ can benefit from additional opportunities and services, ” said Elena Klochko, member of the Council of the Russian Government on Welfare in the Social Sphere in an interview with the Miloserdie.ru web portal.
The bill establishes the prioritisation of guardianship or custodial functions fulfilled by an individual before those of organisations, including in situations where there is a need for the ward in question to stay under the supervision of a boarding school, explains an addendum to the document. The authors emphasise that the existence of ‘external’ guardians in cases where the ward is living in a boarding school solves the common issue of the ‘isolation’ of citizens in need of specialised care and supervision and suffering from a ‘total restriction of their rights and freedoms.’
In January 2014, NGOs that fight for the rights of people with disabilities announced their support for the development of a series of federal laws aimed at widening the possibilities for protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens with mental health conditions under guardianship and custody.
AUTHOR: Georgiy Ivanushkin