All 83 of Russia’s regions now have commissioners for children’s rights, and coordinating councils of the commissioners for children’s rights have been set in every federal district and effectively operate there.
The Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights and his assistants visited 82 regions and inspected over 2,000 orphanages, boarding schools and hospitals.
Pavel Astakhov noted that in five years, the number of new orphans per year declined by 35 percent, while the number of institutions for orphans decreased by 24 percent. The number of children in orphanages decreased by more than one third, and the number of children in the state database of children without parental care shrank by 25 percent. The number of children adopted abroad was reduced by 64 percent.
Significant limitations were introduced for adoptive and foster parents to ensure the safety of children entering foster families.
Due to efforts of the Commissioner, penalties for sexual crimes against minors were made harsher. Perpetrators can now receive a life prison sentence for particularly grave crimes against children under the age of 14. There will be no probation in the case of sexual crimes against minors. Fines are also increased for selling alcoholic beverages to minors.
The Federal Law On Protection of Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development, drafted with the Commissioner’s participation, came into force on September 1, 2012.
Russia has acceded to several significant international legislative acts, in particular the Hague Convention of October19, 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Cooperation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children.
In 2012, agreements with the US and France on cooperation in the adoption of children were ratified. According to Pavel Astakhov however, the US has still not fulfilled the agreement. Moreover, the Commissioner stressed that the American side has yet to provide any data on adopted Russian children.