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SOS Social Centres in Russia

In Russia there are currently nine Social Centres for children and the local community, including those in Vologda and Kandalaksha.  Many SOS Social Centres operate via Family Strengthening Programmes, which aim to support the wider community.  Below is some information about some of the Social Centres that SOS Children runs in Russia:

SOS Social Centres around Russia: In-Depth

St Petersburg KrasnogFamily supported by SOS Social Centre at Krasnogvardeisky 
district, Russiavardeisky District "Family, Mum and I Project"

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

Family, Mum and I project was established in St Petersburg to provde care and support to families in disadvanteaged social situations.

Work and Achievements:

In 2009, My Family is Mom and Me Project established close and fruitful cooperation with the state institutions of the Nevsky Administrative District (Family & Child Social Support Centre (CSPSiD), Minors Emergency Care, Halfway House, Baby House, Municipal Authorities). Children, teenagers and parents attend group trainings; there are individual psychologist’s consultations for children and parents as well. Individual programs have been developed and are implemented at clients’ places of residence. CSPSiD experts attended group trainings aimed at prevention of professional burnout, and at team building.

A legal advisor of the Foundation facilitated rejection of cases related to taking of children out of problem families. One large family got an opportunity to extend their rent debt for three years (the amount of debt is 190000 rubles). A lawyer helped another large family to reduce their debt to LenEnergo by 500 rubles.

Families involved in the project readily cooperate with the experts, which certainly has positive effect on employees’ psychological state and inspires them to take further efforts.

On the whole in 2009 53 families with 120 children received support within the framework of the project.

Vologda "My Mother Project"

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

My Mother Project aimed at prevention of early child abandonment implemented with assistance of the Vologda Area Centre for Family and Child Social Support has been in effect for almost two years (from March 2008). The primary task of the project is keeping 0-3-year-old kids safe and sound in their natural families.

Work and Achievements:

Several innovations were introduced to My Mother Project during the last year:

1.    lessons on primary prevention of social children abandonment with schoolchildren and students;

2.    a new system of clients’ support was developed;

3.    the first Mutual Aid Group My Happy Mom for women in trouble, who raise infants, was organized in Vologda;

4.    holding of monthly social and cultural (Mother’s Day, New Year Carnival, My First Summer, etc.) and educational events (Getting Ready for the Kindergarten, Hand-Made Toys, Parents’ Rights and Obligations);

5.    volunteers were actively involved in the project; Helping Mother Club collected humanitarian aid amounting to over 100 thousand rubles and bought New Year presents for all children within the project.

In 2009, My Mother Project participated in a grant program held by the Foundation to Support Children in Trouble and was awarded a grant to develop new services.

On the whole, over 300 residents of Vologda and the Region turned for help in the course of the year. Support agreements were executed with 118 women. The main achievement is that 98% of the project participants keep children in natural families (there was only one woman who left her child in the Baby’s House for half year).

Kandalaksha "Together With Mother"

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

A ‘Together With Mother’ project has been implemented in the Kandalaksha region of Murmansk.

Work and Achievements:

Within the project in the Kandalaksha district and the town of Polyarnyye Zori, 105 women and 199 children (103 boys and 96 girls) have addressed for support by now. In 2009 financial assistance was granted to 42 women.

Today 36 women are attended by experts, children’s allowance in amount of 40 EUR is provided to 14 women with 15 children.   Over a period of the program in the Murmansk region, housing was provided to 2 young mothers – 1 in the settlement of Alakurtti, 2 in the settlement of Zelenoborsky.   The project is implemented with assistance of the Kandalaksha Orphanage and the Crisis Management Centre of Polyarnyye Zori. Under the project women are attending trainings in Mothers’ School, which are held in the Harmony Centre.

By the beginning of 2009 a team of specialists involved in the program was formed in Kandalaksha. All members of the team completed special courses, gained necessary experience, developed co-operation with authorities, and established good relationships with young families and mothers.

Program participants received psychological, legal and humanitarian support.

Psychological support: psychologists’ and teachers’ advice whenever necessary; individual meetings and assessment of progress under the program; family consultations whenever relatives ask for them.

Legal assistance: weekly legal consultations pertaining to recovery of alimony, proof of paternity, settlement of housing problems; consultations are provided at the Crisis Management Centre in Polyarnyye Zori.

Humanitarian and material aid: monthly humanitarian aid (diapers); financial assistance in purchasing children’s clothes and meals.

The Centre printed 3000 booklets containing contact information of the centre where mothers of 0-3-year-old-children may apply. Those information booklets are distributed in women’s health centres, children’s hospitals and maternity wards in Kandalaksha and Polyarnyye Zori.

To exchange and distribute information on the program, meetings with social security authorities were held on a monthly basis.

- Specialists always keep in touch with Kandalaksha maternity ward, orphanage, children’s health centre, the department for protection of children’s rights and women’s health centres.

- To settle complicated housing issues, specialists meet local authorities and representatives of the territories where beneficiaries live.

St Petersburg "HIV/AIDS Prevention Project"

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

In St Petersburg SOS Children operates an HIV/AIDS prevention project.

Work and achievements:

In 2009, the Strengthening Families Foundation for Prevention of Child’s Abandonment continued its cooperation with the Non-Profit Organization Centre of Innovations in implementation of this project.

Goals and objectives of the project imply developing and testing methods of social, psychological and pedagogical support to create favorable conditions for development of children in families with HIV-positive members.

Project members help families to stay with their children for as long as possible, to create and maintain adequate environment for growth and development of children.

The project is focused on encouraging parents to concentrate on self-development, perception of spiritual values, change of life style and behavior in order to improve emotional, psychological, moral and social environment within the family; on creation of adequate conditions for child’s development; establishing better contact between children and parents; changing upbringing methods, and preventing child abandonment.

In 2009, the guidance counselor of the Strengthening Families Foundation for Prevention of Child’s Abandonment together with the project coordinator and the project specialists started elaboration of guidelines for organization of similar projects in other regions of the country. Completion of the document is scheduled on the second quarter 2010.

On average the project covered 120 children and 160 adults (parents and close relatives) on a monthly basis.

Within the framework of the project, a day care centre was in operation during 2009.

Pskov “My Mother Project”Family from SC Pskov

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

My Mother Project in the Pskov Region has been operating since November 2008.

Work and Achievements:

New methods are developed to work with pregnant women and young mothers intending to abandon their children, because all members of the team are absolutely new to such a unique practice.

Development and arrangement of the infrastructure for My Mother Project was completed. Rooms for group trainings were repaired; psychological discharge room was fully equipped. In future, we need to buy modules for the children’s room and equip the halfway house.

In 2009, two groups of pregnant women and one group of moms totaling 59 families (86 kids) were fully supported. Training programs were adjusted for all groups with due account to their particularities; respective subjects were determined. Teamwork was tuned up. There were some troublesome cases that rallied the team.

According to previously executed agreements on cooperation, clients’ supply channels were tuned up. The project partners are involved in settlement of difficulties encountered by pregnant women and mothers of newly born kids, where the risk of social abandonment is present.

Individual work with clients helps us discover conflicts in legislative practices that we communicate to the public and governing authorities. Our clients bring out new problems that have never been touched upon before.

Development of instructional guidelines is one of the key advantages of the project. We have developed and tested several programs for legal and psychological support. The programs are applied at trainings of target groups and leavers of the Pskov Orphanage to prevent children’s abandonment.

Murmansk “Together With Mother”

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

Within the framework of Helping Mothers Program, the Non-Profit Educational Institution Centre for Placement of Children in Families (CRSFUD) has been working on prevention of early abandonment of children since 2006. The Program is meant to support mothers, who can raise their children themselves, but currently face difficult circumstances.

Work and Achievements:

Over the period of project implementation, specialists of the Centre have registered 492 applications; agreements on provision of social and psychological support and financial aid have been executed with 165 women, who turned for help.

During 2009, we were informed of 102 cases where a high risk of child abandonment was present. 68 families are supported, those in greatest need receive monthly child allowance.  Women live in Murmansk, Kola, Apatity, Vidyayevo. All of them were sent to our Centre by specialists working in women’s health clinics, maternity wards and children’s hospitals. They are provided psychologists’ advice, assistance of an expert in social and housing issues, material aid.

Under the Program, mothers and new-born children are provided with temporary accommodation in Murmansk. In April, new windows in the halfway house were installed, which was funded out of the grant awarded by the United Russia (50 thousand rubles).

In 2009, 4 mothers and 4 infants lived there. The halfway house was established two years ago. Since then 10 women and 10 babies in troublesome situation have found social and psychological support here. Currently, one young mom and her 2-month-old baby live in the house. The woman is a former graduate of an orphanage. They are given this temporary refuge on the motion of the Lovozersky Commission on Minors’ Affairs and Rights, and may stay in the house before they get their own housing.

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