Early intervention framework drawn up in Russia
A framework to provide develop a system of early intervention with children at risk and those with disabilities or genetic disorders in Russia up to 2020 has been drawn up by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in collaboration with the specialists’ community.
This framework has been prepared at the behest of Olga Golodets, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, as a result of research carried out by the Government’s Council on Guardianship in the Social Sphere. The Support Fund for Children in Difficult Life Situations was also involved in this work.
“This system is aimed at the very young, that is children up to the age of three. Clearly, this is an extremely sensitive issue. It’s vital that a child’s first steps are a source of great joy not pain. These children and their families need help. Of course, we have to ensure they are not left to cope on their own and that they are supported by the State and society. The more help that can be provided at an early stage, the more effective intervention will be medically in preventing complications, as well as overcoming diseases and resolving other social issues”, said Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s Prime Minister.
The framework, which was presented at a meeting with Maksim Topolin, Russian Minister of Labour and Social Protection, identifies a range of children who’ll receive early assistance, i.e. those under the age of three and those of that age that cannot be fully included in the system that provides educational services (as stipulated by the psychological, medical and pedagogical commission). The document will also give children the opportunity of continuing to receive early intervention services up to the ages of seven and eight.
In order to ensure that it covers dysfunctional families as well as health, the framework also includes families living in difficult circumstances as suggested by public organisations.
“What results are we expecting to achieve? The principal aim is to develop a child’s full potential, as well as bringing some normality to the lives of families who find themselves in such a situation and reducing the number of children suffering from health problems”, says Topolin.
According to Olga Golodets, the framework should not simply offer “support, but that it be a top priority for the work of a whole range of Ministries and departments”.
“I’d like to point out that we received a very high level of inter-departmental cooperation in the preparation of this framework document. The same can be said of our dealings with civil society representatives as this issue has been carefully reviewed on a number of occasions by the Government’s Board of Guardians. The document we now have with all its complexities and nuances has been agreed with and is being overseen by relevant Ministries and departments and civil society representatives”, said Golodets.
Dmitry Medvedev said that implementing the framework document should involve the preparation of a detailed outline of a phased plan of work “all of which needs to be costed on the basis of State and non-budgetary funding sources”.
This framework is an NGO idea and the results of its implementation should lead to the formulation by 2020 of a suite of measures aimed at creating the necessary conditions within the Russian Federation for providing early intervention services to targeted children’s groups.
Early intervention involves a suite of medical, social, psychological and educational services identified on an inter-departmental basis aimed at early intervention with targeted children’s groups, promoting their full potential, looking after their physical and mental wellbeing, including them in the company of their fellow children, integrating them within society, supporting families and improving parental (legal representatives) skills.
According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), the number of disabled children in Russia has remained constant over the last five years, comprising around 2% of the child population. The most commonly observed forms of disability are psychological and behavioural disorders (22.8%), congenital abnormalities (birth defects), deformations and chromosomal abnormalities (20.6%), and nervous disorders (20%).
Author: Irina Laktyushina