Russian CSOs calculate the cost of keeping a family together

CSOs calculate the costs of keeping a family together


A study has shown that it costs almost half as much to support a blood-related family as it does to keep orphans in institutions.

The Volunteers for Help to Orphans Foundation and the Evolution and Philanthropy CSO recently carried out research on the social and economic benefits of the Warm Home project, a centre to which mothers with new-born children who have been left without housing or support can apply for help.

The figures show that the final social cost incurred over an eight-month period (i.e. the average time a mother and her child stayed in the Warm House centre) was 533,409 roubles per family: the child remained with the mother who was raising him/her on her own. This sum includes the rental costs for the shelter and for the work of specialists (a psychologist and a lawyer).

By way of comparison, according to the Federation’s Ministry of Education, around one million roubles is spent annually to keep a child in an orphans’ institution:

  • 1,000,000 roubles are spent on keeping a child in an educational establishment for orphans per year;
  • 1,328,000 roubles are spent on keeping a child in a medical institution for orphans per year;
  • 1,076,000 roubles per year is the cost of keeping a child in an organisation that provides social services.

“The results of the study confirm that, where possible, it is much better to support a blood-related family to avoid a child ending up in an orphanage than spend huge amounts of money on managing children’s institutions from which isolated and lonely people with limited life skills and a lack of social adaptation are ultimately released”.

“Today, if a family with a child is going through difficult times, it is forced to survive on its own. Yet, the State is prepared to support children sent to orphanages at huge financial cost. These resources would be better spent on creating a system that supports families and protects children from violence and abuse”, said Elena Alshanskaya, Head of the Volunteers for Help to Orphans Foundation.

According to Olga Evdokimova, CEO of the Evolution and Philanthropy CSO, this research serves as a valuable case study for the whole not-for-profit sector as it provides an assessment not only of the work which has been done but also the changes it has brought to the lives of the beneficiaries.

“Viewed as part of the whole cycle of social change, we see this as an investment that will enhance the wellbeing of women for years to come”, added Evdokimova. “And this does not end as soon as a woman leaves a shelter but continues over the long term to achieve a sustainable outcome to keep families together”.

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