The forum, held on October 4–5 with the assistance of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Penza Region, brought together children's ombudspersons from Russian regions, representatives of relevant federal and regional ministries and agencies, NGOs, and practitioners. President Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the congress.
The delegates discussed a wide range of topics, including the protocol for communicating a diagnosis, early and palliative care, the organisation of assisted living, the operation of day care centres for the disabled, the future of nursing homes for children with disabilities, and mental health issues. Innovative social practices of the Penza Region were presented at separate venues.
Particular attention was paid to assisted living, future employment for children with disabilities, preparing them for living independently, adaptation in society, and teaching self-care skills. The congress participants visited the country's first cluster for the development and socialisation of children and young people with disabilities – the Novyye Berega (New Shores) art estate.
During the discussion, Maria Lvova-Belova emphasised that the forum’s programme covers the entire spectrum of assistance to families with disabled minors, and recalled that there are 742,000 disabled children in Russia. She said the ultimate goal is to create a support system in which disabled children and their parents would not feel like dependents and could study and work.
The Commissioner for Children's Rights said that next year day care centres for children with disabilities will open in ten pilot regions of the country. In the near future, a Coordinating Council for the Social Integration of Minors and Young Adults with Disabilities will be established at the federal level under the leadership of Maria Lvova-Belova.
Proposals developed at the congress will be used in implementing the programmes of the Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights, Support through Life and Children in the Family.