Russia will open its childcare institutions to parents, volunteers, and specialists

Fondation Dora supports the implementation of an International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE) programme intended to open up Russian childcare institutions to parents, volunteers, and specialists with an ultimate goal of deinstitutionalizing the children residing in these establishments.

Russia currently operates 130 residential institutions for children with disabilities, housing approximately 19,000 children between the ages of 4 and 18. Nearly 60% of these children have parents who maintain their parental rights, however, very few keep any contact with the children placed in residence. The other children in these institutions were either abandoned at birth or have parents who have forfeited their rights. Only 3% of them are orphans. The living conditions in these institutions are often difficult because:

  • The children are unable to create relationships with supportive adults, something which is crucial for their development and well-being. They live in groups of 20 with two caregivers and a part-time educator
  • The children live in extremely poor sensory environments in which there is little or no educational stimulation, in which walks are restricted and outings nearly inexistent. The personnel do not have educational and care training.
  • The children are often neglected and/or repeatedly mistreated.

This alarming situation brought the Russian government to initiate a number of legal proceedings upon which this project was founded.


The general goal of the programme is to ensure that children with disabilities are guaranteed their fundamental right to live in the community and be able to develop to their full potential in accordance with the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The programme also hopes to enable children and young adults with disabilities to create and/or re-establish communication and emotional bonds with people outside their institutions.

Activities in the field will be jointly led by the Center for Curative Pedagogies (CPC) and the Perspektivy Centre and are organised around the following points:

  • Supervising an adequate implementation of the governmental ordinance requesting the institutional administrations to work toward placing children with foster families and restructuring their establishments into family-type care homes. 
  • Developing the volunteer network in support of the children in residence
  • Strengthening the skills of the institutional personnel, volunteers, and involved families
  • Re-establishing bonds between the biological families and the institutionalized children
  • Organising educational activities for the institutionalized children outside the institutions and/or with the involvement of individuals coming from outside the institution
  • Providing legal support and mediation when communicating with the institutions
  • Developing a publication (e-format) that could enhance parental involvement in the life of the institutionalized children
  • Providing advocacy with local authorities

BICE ensures overall project coordination, its follow-up and its evaluation. Among other things, it will facilitate the relationships with local authorities as well as training for the professionals involved.

BICE is an international network composed of 80 organisations from around the world committed to defending the dignity of children and their rights.

Fondation Dora has supported BICE since 2017 and this programme in particular since 2019.