Breaking the government monopoly on orphan care
Representatives of Russian NGOs have published an open letter to President Medvedev to bring his attention to multiple cases of abuse in orphanages, especially in those for children with disabilities, and the fact that the impact of government involvement and initiatives in orphan care is far below expectations. The methods of governmental control over the situation in orphanages is inadequate and inefficient. In the authors’ opinion, “Children in orphanages and boarding schools are being discriminated against. The orphanage system was created in Russia when isolation and lack of publicity were social norms. And today, as Russian society is changing towards an open society, including the unprivileged and people with disabilities in active life must become a new norm.” The authors also emphasize that the efforts of Russian NGOs including those that strive to provide assistance to Russia's most vulnerable demographics, especially orphans, do not enjoy adequate support from the government but rather experience administrative barriers. Orphanage administrations are known to deny access to demonstrably capable volunteers and social organizations desiring to work with the children. Life in institutions doesn’t offer orphans ways for successful integration into society, but rather contributes to the risk of their perpetual isolation from society, which threatens their health and life. Among their recommendations to the government, the authors of the open letter suggest that Russian NGOs be empowered by legal provisions to have access to orphanages and exercise control over the orphanages' practices and activities. (Source: http://www.perspektivy.ru/novelty/news_f/1/news_id/167) I hope that this letter will have a quick and positive effect on both orphan care and the scope of opportunities for NGOs to change orphans’ lives for the better, thus giving them the same opportunities.