Candidates for foster parents are asked to give them the opportunity to continue adoption in the context of the spread of coronavirus. Activists of the foster parents and guardianship community “Children in the Family” sent an appeal to the Ministry of Education with a request to approve a unified adoption procedure during a pandemic. 

As indicated in the letter (a copy is at the disposal of RT), activists want to convey to the heads of the department information about the "difficulties in the interaction between candidates for guardians / adoptive parents and guardianship authorities" that arose in the regions.  

Adoption froze

In early April, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and Rospotrebnadzor recommended transferring children for the duration of the pandemic from shelters to families on a guest basis. However, a number of regions ignored the recommendation, and all processes associated with adoption procedures were completely frozen.

For example, RT talked about a resident of the Chelyabinsk region Julia Plaude. At the end of January, the woman planned to take the girl from the orphanage to her family, but the paperwork was delayed. And in February, representatives of the guardianship announced to the adoptive parent that quarantine was announced in the region. Now Julia can neither pick up the child nor visit him.

“We were faced with situations where, with all the signed documents and the days already assigned for transferring children to families, all processes were frozen until quarantine was lifted. At the same time, the Ministry of Education supported the initiative on temporary custody, since the fact that it was safer for the child in the family was obvious to everyone, ”the letter from the activists of the volunteer movement“ Children in the Family ”said.

To rectify the situation, volunteers asked the ministry to "give clear instructions to the guardianship authorities to complete the process of transferring children to families." According to activists, this should be done in cases where the meeting of the candidates for adoption and the child has already taken place, and the children every day expect to be picked up. 

“The measure to freeze all the processes started is understandable, but from the point of view of human emotions it is extremely harsh,” the statement says.

At the same time, human rights activists note that “no alternative was offered to candidates for guardians / adoptive parents”. For example, according to them, it would be possible under quarantine to provide an opportunity to be registered as candidates for adoptive parents from regional operators remotely by sending copies of all necessary documents by e-mail. 

In some regions, they took this path, but most guardianship authorities, as activists emphasize, refused to register, referring to the fact that the family code of the Russian Federation clearly states that the candidate must appear in person.

No one can move without a document

As explained to RT by the volunteer of the Center for Children in the Family, Svetlana Kuznetsova, adoptive parents encountered problems in St. Petersburg, the Leningrad Region, several districts of Moscow, Kazan, the Stavropol Territory, the Astrakhan Region, and the Kemerovo Region. At the same time, regional operators of Astrakhan, the Khabarovsk Territory, and the Jewish Autonomous Region went to meet them.

According to Kuznetsova, the ministry can solve the problem by approving a unified procedure for remote registration of candidates for guardians, if force majeure circumstances impede the personal visit of the candidate.

“This, first of all, will help residents of distant regions who are forced to visit regional operators and guardianship authorities several times: the first time for registration and the application for issuing directions for acquaintance, the second time for personal acquaintance with the child and registration of all necessary documents for transfer to the family, ”Kuznetsova explains.

If the guardianship authorities do not meet the candidates, the whole process can drag on for months, which, among other things, becomes an additional stress for the child, she said.

“We really hope to be heard. After all, it’s us, the candidates for guardians, adoptive parents, acting adoptive parents and volunteers, who will go through all the stages on the way to the adopted child, like no one else we see all the imperfections and shortcomings, and we would like to change the orphanage system for the better together with you, ”the letter says .

Elina Zhgutova, a member of the commission for family, motherhood and childhood support of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, noted that custody actions in the regions are extremely difficult to control, so they easily allow themselves to ignore recommendations.

“Everything is built in such a way that there is no responsibility on the implementing agencies. This is its own shop, its own legal Vatican, de facto a separate branch of government, which almost no one controls. If a federal document is not issued, no one will move, ”she said.

The Ministry of Education could not give an operational comment. As a source in the department told RT, although there are already recommendations, the regional authorities make the final decision based on the epidemiological situation.