Social Worker’s Day celebrated in Russia
June 8 is considered the professional holiday of workers from the sphere of social welfare.
President Vladimir Putin signed the decree establishing this holiday on 27 October 2000. The day, 8 June, was selected as the anniversary of the founding of the first Russian poor-house in 1701.
According to 2015 data from Rosstat, there are more than 630 thousand social workers in Russia. Around 26 million people are in need of their services, including 15 million elderly and disabled people.
120 higher education institutes train the profession’s specialists, including a specialised university, the Russian State Social University (RGSU), as well as medical universities.
The day before the festival, specialist departments in the regions rewarded staff of state-funded social institutions for their conscientious work. But since 2016 social work has also been carried out by private providers of social services. The Centre for Therapeutic Pedagogy received the first subsidy for such work this spring. From 2017, providers of socially helpful services (IOPU), including NGOs, joined together with social workers. The first regional organisation, one helping people with disabilities, “Face to the World” from Yaroslavl, received a positive report from the Ministry for Labour regarding the quality its work.
For the first time in Russia, a television series has been made looking at the importance of the profession and all the subtleties of the work done by social services. Several episodes are planned for viewers: how to pick a family for a child (and not the other way round), how to help foster parents overcome crises, restore biological families and support graduates from the system in their adult life. The screenplay is based on real stories from the Resource Centre for Family Structure in Moscow.
“When a child comes here, specialists study their story, search for relatives, assess their resources – and often it works out that a child returns to their parents or relatives. If that is not possible, various specialists work with the child and help them to cope with the traumas they have experienced; indeed, these children have been traumatised twice: the unsuitable environment in which they grew up, as well as the sheer fact of losing their family. Then the search for a foster family begins. This is based on the needs and the particularities of the child,” the director of the centre Maria Ternovskaia told ASI. “A separate part of the work is accompanying the families. When a child comes to a host family, specialists for accompanying the substitute family get involved in the work. This prevents the risk of a child being abandoned. If the decision is taken to restore the biological family, the department for the biological family supports the parents. A separate service – a post-care home service – accompanies leavers of the centre and those from guardianship and foster families. Another information centre carries out a huge amount of resource work, trains specialists and helps other children’s homes.”