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Children’s ombudsman: Russia may overcome problem of orphans in 7-8 years

December 02, 2013, 10:36 UTC+3 MOSCOW

In 2013, the number of adoptions went up by almost seven percent, according to Pavel Astakhov

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MOSCOW, December 02. /ITAR-TASS/. According to the dynamics of children’s adoption to Russian families, Russia may overcome the problem of parentless children in 7-8 years, the country’s children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said in an interview with Izvestia daily on Monday.

In 2013, he said, the number of adoptions went up by almost seven percent. Russia has many regions which refused from foreign adoption over three years ago. They are Altai, Tyva, Khakassiya, Adygeya, Dagestan, Karachai-Cherkessiya, Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, the Oryel, Belgorod, Ulyanovsk regions, and Yamal-Nenets, Khanty-Mansi and Chukotka autonomous districts.

As of September 1, 2013, Russia’s 48,536 children found new families. The ministry of education and sciences reports that by the yearend another 17,000 will have new parents. Thus, the total figure will make almost 70 thousand children.

“It is for the first time over several years that we witness a line for adoption. As of January 1, 2013, almost 20,000 Russian citizens wanted to adopt orphans. It was impossible to imagine only five years ago,” Astakhov said.

“We have 643,757 parentless children,” he continued. “Most of them live with families — adopted, in foster families.” “At orphanages remain 107,000. By the yearend the figure will be even smaller.”

“Lately the guardianship authorities have been depriving parents of their parental rights. At a certain moment the figure jumped above the critical level of 100,000 parents deprived of parental rights a year. As a rule those adults had two, three or four kids. And every year we received crowds of children, where courts decided they would become parentless. I ordered to change the situation, and we managed to improve it.”

“Now, we have more cases, where children from orphanages are returned to their parents — over six years the number of people who regained their parental rights grew by 50.7%,” the ombudsman said.

“Unfortunately, we have another sorrowful criterion: over 80 percent of children at orphanages do have live parents (the so-called social orphans). This is where a real disaster is.”

Astakhov highlighted a new tendency: after the adoption of the so-called Dima Yakovlev law (which bans to the US citizens to adopt Russian parentless children — Article 4), the number of Russian citizens willing to adopt disabled children was growing.

In 2011, he said, foreign families took 176 disabled children, where 89 children left for the US. “Russian families at that time took 1,175 children. The figure of last year was even higher.”

As for access to foreign high-technology medical assistance for the disabled children, Astakhov said “our responsibility is to guarantee medical assistance to the children, including at the expense of the government, abroad, but without obligatory adoption.”

“Jointly with the ministry of healthcare we have been putting together a list of children, who require medical treatment outside the country. We shall undertake everything possible to make sure every child received qualified assistance,” the ombudsman said.

Astakhov said over past 20 years in Russian foster families had died twelve children, while in American foster families — 20.

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