Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Situation with orphans in Russia improves dramatically

Commissioner for Children's Rights under the Russian President, Pavel Astakhov, gave an interview to Pravda.Ru, in which he talked about changes in the field of adoptions in Russia during the recent years.

According to Astakhov, one should not associate changes in this area exclusively with the law of Dima Yakovlev that was passed less than a year ago. The activities to improve the lives of orphaned children had been conducted before.

"During this time, 3.5 years, while I'm in the office, we have checked almost all regions in terms of their readiness to protect children, to give them all that is necessary under the law. It goes about, for example, the efforts not to send a child to an orphanage, but help a family recover, if something happened in that family. As a last resort, if parents have committed a crime against their child, we should give the child an opportunity to live in a new foster home," Astakhov said.

"Five years ago, we did not have people lining up to adopt orphans. In the beginning of this year, we have nearly 20,000 people lining for foster children," the official continued. Prior to the Dima Yakovlev law, there was a system created to train foster parents; schools of foster families were founded in Russian regions, Mr. Astakhov added.

Pavel Astakhov said a few words about foreign adoption. "As for the ban on American adoptions, when I faced corruption, lack of transparency and the egregious cases of violence, when American parents would evade responsibility, I started talking about it back in April 2010, when Artyom Savelyev returned, or  Justin Henson, as he was called in America. He returned to Russia from America alone, with a one-way ticket, because one could simply dump a Russian child, as we had neither guarantees, nor agreements with America. And then in April of 2010, I said that it was necessary to prohibit the adoption of Russian children by U.S. foster parents, until law and order was established there. In general, it was not right to give away our children, we've never had that before," Astakhov said.

First Deputy Chairwoman of the State Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children, Olga Batalina, explained to Pravda.Ru why orphanages were closing in Russia and what should be done to push more families towards the decision to adopt orphaned children.

"Orphanages have been closing in most regions during the recent years, and this is natural dynamics. The number of children living in children's homes, has been declining steadily - and that's good," Batalina told Pravda.Ru.

According to the official, 95 percent of all children left without care, found in the first half of 2013, were either returned to their biological parents, or accommodated in other families.

"Of course, one can not be satisfied with these figures, because the federal data bank still has 110,000 children who live in various institutions," Batalina said.

According to her, the legal framework in the area of ​​adoptions has changed significantly over the last year and continues to improve. It is not the question of further changes in legislation in the interests of orphans that is vitally important, but the control over the measures that have been taken in the regions of Russia.