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Development and perspectives of social policy and social work in the sphere of child protection in Russia

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Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova, Pavel Romanov, Natalia Lovtsova,Saratov State Technical University, Saratov Social Work & Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2004 ISSN 1613-8953 ▪▪▪ http: //www.socwork.de/Iarskaia-Romanov-Lovtsova2004-1.pdf 134-137

  1. Read the text and find the answers to the following questions:

· What is the family crisis manifested by?

· What is the priority in family policy?

· What are the main problems in social work with family and children?

· What social services deal with the problems of family and children?

· What are the functions of these services?

· What hinders the development of effective family and children well-being policy?


The much discussed topic in social policy and social work perspectives in the 90s in Russia was debate over family values. This debate emphasized the family as a problem for society with little reference to either needs or rights of family members. Any debate over the family soon becomes a debate over the state, and what role if any it should play in regulating family affairs. Because boundaries between the state and the family are often confused there is backgrounds for conflict over state intervention in family life.

The main arguments for crisis are erosion of family values leading to moral and social disintegration, failures to carry out family socialization, reproduction, care and protection in ways acceptable to society, decreasing of marriage rate, raising of divorce rate, rejecting of parental obligations. The more vulnerable victims of family crisis are children.

Since 1993 Russia adopted more than 120 legislation acts concerned to family. The contents and target group of these documents, and also direction of financial flows clearly demonstrate priorities of family policy which is child protection policy.

Traditional family support system offering cash benefits and in-kind services have weakened considerably in Russia, and evidence shows that in many cases they do not reach the needy or provide the necessary help.

The main problems of modern social work agencies working with children and their families are following:

• Insufficiency of financing

• Restricted and inert reforms

• Systematic problems in the field of functional, organizational, methodological and procedural clearness, definition of priorities, measures of implementation of national, local and regional policies; planning and budget distribution; lack of human resources, control, reporting and assessment)

• Lack of focusing on the preventive programs

• Problems of decentralization

• Lack of coordination of efforts (problem of intersectional interaction and social partnership).


The main actors on scene of social work with family and children are the following social services:

• Local centers of the social support of family and children;

• Centers of the psycho-pedagogical support of population;

• Centers of the emergency psychological support.


These services deal with providing of the charge-free support for the adolescents and their families, showing up the adolescents, which are in a socially dangerous situation, and families with children, who need social support; providing the needed support and implementation of individual rehabilitational programs, contributing in organization of health care programs and leisure time for the adolescents who need the state support, providing of individual preventive measures for adolescents, who are not looked after, material aid and in-kind assistance, day care services for children from poor families, helping in seeking a job.

Specialized social work institutions work with children in risk or with ones who have appeared in a difficult life situation, providing social rehabilitation, the emergency social support, temporary residential care and organization of their further placement, preventing of child homelessness and child neglect.

Now responsibility for family and child well-being is divided between the several ministries; that results both in inconsistency and ineffectiveness of developing and introducing of policies and measures, and also to apparent duplication of tasks. Such dissociation slows down development of unified policy directed at improvement of family and children well-being, first of all because of the struggle between the ministries for spheres of influence and financial resources.


boundaries – границы

backgrounds – основания

intervention – вмешательство

vulnerable – уязвимый

in-kind aid – натуральная помощь

adolescent - подросток

  1. Look through the text again and find words and constructions you may use in your professional discourse (scientific terms etc.). Translate and memorize them.
  2. Find the transcription of the following words and practise pronouncing them: emphasize, failure, socialization, rehabilitational.
  3. Prove that:

· The state family policy is an urgent issue.

· A number of factors stand in the way of handling the problems of family and children.


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