The children’s rights commissioners’ congress was devoted to state policy issues in ensuring children’s rights to the protection of their lives and health and to full-fledged development, as well as the commissioners’ roles in guaranteeing those rights.
When opening the forum, Pavel Astakhov noted that the demographic and social policy conducted in Russia in recent years, as well as measures to modernise healthcare and support families with minor children, have resulted in certain improvement in the situation of protecting the lives and health of the younger generation.
In his speech at the national seminar, Pavel Astakhov focused attention on the rights of children to be brought up in a family as a fundamental principle of governmental family policy. Due of state efforts taken in the last six years, the yearly number of children becoming orphans has decreased by 40 percent while in 2012, the number of cases of revoked parental rights continued to decline.
According to the Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights, these data demonstrate the directedness of state family policy orienting custodial care authorities toward maintaining a child’s biological family, supporting parents’ predominant rights to raise their children and providing comprehensive assistance and aid to families that have fallen on hard times.
In spite of the positive results achieved, the number of orphans and children without parental care in Russia remains unacceptably high. There were 643,757 such children on file at the beginning of 2013. In the shared opinion of the forum’s participants, a child should live with his or her own biological family, and if this is not possible due to extenuating life circumstances, children should live in a foster family in Russia. The government and society’s primary objective is to create the most favourable conditions to promote this.
The congress of regional children’s rights commissioners and seminar on preventing social orphanhood were organised on Pavel Astakhov’s initiative with support from Head of Bashkortostan Rustem Khamitov and attended by over 500 children’s rights specialists.