Yes to Patronat!

Every day 317 young Russians are left without parental care.  80% of these children are “social orphans” which means that at least one parent is alive. This information was provided by Boris Altshuler, Chairman of the Board of the Regional Social Organization (Source: ASI). He believes that this crisis situation is rooted in the new law on child welfare which has eliminated the recently created type of foster care Patronat.  Forty three regions of Russia have been practicing Patronat during the last several years and thirty nine of them emphasize its positive results. They all agree that this type of family placement allows to monitor the foster families and to ensure the child’s well being. We certainly hope that Patronat will be “reborn” as we also know how effective it can be. How do we know that? Many of you have been to Lakinsk Family Center in Vladimir Region and know that what used to be a regular orphanage is a very different place now: all children live in foster families and family groups. This remarkable model was created by our ministry in 1998 and in 2000 received the State Prize, the highest award of the Russian government. How does it differ from your regular foster family, like one we have in US? In Patronat model the legal custody for the child remains with the orphanage while the child lives in a family contracted by the orphanage to provide home, care and all other benefits of family to the orphan. In such scenario authorities have legal rights and responsibilities to monitor the success of the family and provide the necessary support. Now why has the new law eliminated this successful model? I wish I could understand.