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Moving Forward: Implementing the 'Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children'

Short-break services for children with disabilities, Russia

Focus 5: Supporting families to prevent abandonment and relinquishment

Short-break services for children with disabilities have been developed in order to prevent these children entering institutional care. The service was developed in St Petersburg and provides respite care in a family who have received training in supporting children with disabilities.

The service is flexible in meeting the needs of each individual family and the care can be provided in the child’s own home or the carers’ home.

An evaluation of the programme has demonstrated that it has successfully prevented admission to institutional care. To date, all of the 61 children with disabilities (many of whom have profound disabilities) involved in the programme have remained in the care of their families.

In addition the evaluation has identified significant quality of life benefits for the child with disabilities, the parents and other children in the families involved in the programme, including: the continued care of the child at home when normal caring arrangements within the family are disrupted due to illness or family conflict; assistance to the parents isolated from extended family members; practical support for exhausted parents at times when they need it most; improved confidence of the parents when caring for the child with disabilities; and practical assistance in enabling visits for medical or physical treatments essential to the child’s well-being.

For more information see: Enabling Reform: why supporting children with disabilities must be at the heart of successful child care reform

International Social Service, Oak Foundation, SOS Children's Villages International, unicef, ATD Fourth World, Better Care Network, Family for every child, ngo group for the crc, PEPFAR, RELAF, Save the Children, USAID