Russia: why children are placed in protective institutions

Study by Children’s Rights Commissioner: 40% of children placed in shelters at parents’ request




Using data from 14 pilot regions, officials have determined why and at what age children most often end up in shelters.


The Children’s Rights Commissioner’s office has released the results of a comprehensive study aimed at understanding the factors contributing to children’s placement in protective institutions. The study focused on children under the age of four from 14 pilot regions who were placed in children’s homes while their parents were alive. According to data provided by the Commissioner’s office, more than a thousand children across these regions are currently housed in 99 different institutions.


The study revealed that in most cases (61%), children were placed in institutions due to challenging family circumstances, with 40% admitted before the age of one. Surprisingly, nearly half (40%) of these admissions were a result of applications submitted by parents or guardians, a practice that was less common in the past, as highlighted by Rostislav Gorbovsky, an advisor to the Commissioner’s office. In certain regions, such as the Ryazan Oblast, it was observed that multiple siblings from the same family were placed in the same institution in the overwhelming majority (83%) of cases.


Alcohol abuse is a major reason for children being admitted to institutions: the Tyumen Oblast has the highest rate (79%) among the pilot regions. Furthermore, alcohol consumption is a significant factor (43%) contributing to repeated placements of children in shelters.


The study also revealed that approximately one in ten children (11%) residing in these institutions had a disability, with neurological impairment (26%) and central nervous system disorders (17%) being the most common diagnoses. However, 63% of these children lacked plans for further interdepartmental collaboration: Gorbovsky acknowledged that this is a legal infringement, but emphasised that “children are ultimately meant to return to their families, and prolonged stays in protective institutions is not the norm.”


Overall, the study sheds light on the complex factors influencing children’s placement in shelters and emphasises the need for improved support systems and interdepartmental cooperation to ensure the well-being and timely reintegration of these children into their families.




Translated by: Spencer Michaels



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