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Abandoned Children or Social Orphans? Changes in social policy in Russia during perestroika and post-communism (1989-2004)

Written by Dorena Caroli, this article appeared on the fourth issue of the journal Sociétés et jeunesses en difficulté in 2007.
 
This article focuses on the measures to prevent child abandonment which were introduced between 1989 and 2004 in Russia by the Employment and Social Development Minister, the main body responsible for childcare programmes. It firstly examines the measures taken by the government, especially the 1999 law on the prevention of child abandonment and juvenile delinquency (creation of homes and new services). Secondly, it analyses the measures adopted for children guardianship and foster care services for families. Thirdly, it evaluates the introduction of children rights officers in many Russian cities. Finally, it looks at children's attitudes to life in orphanages and their chances of social adjustment as shown by various social surveys.
 
The combination of these measures makes it possible to demonstrate both the contradictory aspects of transitional social policy and its social costs that are being paid mainly by the new generation who risk being condemned to permanent social exclusion.

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