Russian orphanages restrict activities during pandemic

Almost half of orphanages have imposed restrictions on admitting new children due to the pandemic


The following is based on monitoring carried out by charitable organisations in May, on behalf of Tatyana Golikova.

In May 2020, a team drawn from employees at Volunteers helping Orphaned Children, Way of Life and Arithmetic of Good were chosen to monitor work carried out by orphanages during the pandemic, on behalf of Tatyana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. The results have been published on Volunteers helping Orphaned Childrenā€™s website.

846 institutions that support orphaned children took part, which makes up 71% of all eligible organisations based in Russia. The principal aim was to explore how their work had been affected by the pandemic.

As of 12 May, there are 39,950 children living in orphanages in Russia. Of these, around 10% (4,184) have moved to family-type care, which includes blood relatives. During the period of restrictions 2,564 children lived in a family setting, including 724 children who moved in with families of volunteers and employees.

The research found that volunteer visits had in 94% of cases been stopped completely, in 4% of cases partly reduced and in 1% of cases continued as usual.

According to head of Volunteers helping Orphaned Children Elena Alshkanskaya, the volume of medical and educational activities with specialist experts, as well as rehabilitation, had decreased as a result of the regional restrictions.

Rehabilitation programmes had ceased completely in 74% of organisations, partly in 19% and not changed at all in 7%. In terms of medical support, however, the situation was better, ceasing completely in only 40% of organisations. In 15% of orphanages, the number of medical procedures carried out by visiting specialists remained at the same level as before the pandemic struck.

45% of childrenā€™s institutions have imposed restrictions on admitting new children and 59% have introduced a mandatory two-week quarantine period for new arrivals. In almost every case (97%) children have been restricted in leaving the institutionā€™s territory.

Employees in 496 institutions (59% of organisations surveyed) indicated that they had not received any incentive payments for working during the pandemic. Employees in 542 organisations responded saying that their management team had not introduced any support measures. 

The team of experts concluded that the relevant ministries must provide further explanation of how the child-orphan institutions should function during the pandemic. In their opinion, organisations lack any detail regarding necessary equipment, ways of calculating the level of PPE needed for their employees and a mode of detecting coronavirus amongst both employees and children.


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