First inspections of Russian orphanages: results
Russian Federation, 14.09.2016
The first inspection has revealed that volunteer working practices in orphanages are well established but that they need particular attention. It has also shown that recreational activities outside city limits have not been arranged for pre-school children living in residential orphanages.
Interim results of the public inspection of care facilities for orphans and children deprived of parental care have been reviewed by the Public Chamber in an online meeting with its regional colleagues. Members of the regional chambers explained that it is difficult for these institutions to organise recreational activities for pre-school children outside their city, e.g. in view of the extra costs involved as well as strict health and safety requirements. Sometimes volunteers start using the shortcomings of orphanages for their own PR purposes, they added.
According to Yulia Zimova, a member of the Public Chamber’s Commission for Support to the Family, Children and Motherhood, volunteers are not legally entitled to have free access to information relating to children’s institutions, which is a real issue for the regions. Consequently, members of regional public chambers have offered to organise a volunteer programme or suggest an institute where their professional skills can be improved.
The meeting also highlighted problems of overcrowding in orphanages with members arguing that care should be taken to ensure that every child has his or her own private space. Zimova also believes that orphanages don’t make proper use of CCTV which is set up in corridors instead of in play rooms. It’s the job of the inspectors to point out such anomalies, she says.
“When preparing for a visit to orphanages in Tula we found out that many children were already being looked after in the city’s federal clinics. This means the work is being done. Unfortunately, those in charge don’t always fight for every child. This isn’t due to a lack of desire or interest, it’s often just impossible to do. The public inspectors should explain all this”, says Zimova.
At previous meetings with regional public chambers it was recognised that more needed to be done with blood and substitute families in child care facilities. According to the person who instigated this inspection, the main problem we’re having in reorganising Russia’s orphanages is a misunderstanding among people working in these institutions of the true nature of the review.
Author: Irina Laktyushina