The purpose of the visit was to develop a network of adolescent centres in the region and to launch a street social work service for minors.
Following a meeting with Penza Region Governor Oleg Melnichenko, it was decided to create adolescent spaces in two districts of Penza similar to the Dvor (Courtyard) centre, which opened in July 2022 and became the first institution of its kind in the country.
In total, 23 such centres are operating around the country. This work is carried out as part of the President-supported Teenagers of Russia strategic programme of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights.
Penza will also see a street social work service for teenagers go live soon. It will help deal with homelessness and child neglect, and prevent illegal behaviour.
In addition, the Penza Region became the first constituent entity of the Russian Federation to launch a pilot project to prevent social orphanhood among children under four years of age, on instructions from the President. The project is designed to reduce the number of children in orphanages. In a year, the number of residents in the Penza Orphanage has halved.
During her working trip, Maria Lvova-Belova also visited the Veronika House, a boarding home, and Novye Berega, an inclusive art estate, both of which she created. According to the Commissioner, many regions are willing to replicate this experience. For example, a branch of the Louis Quarter will open in St Petersburg soon, and young people with disabilities from the Northwestern Federal District will become its first residents. Similar work is underway in Rostov-on-Don. The Okkolo creative space opened in the Krasnodar Territory not long ago.