There are over 100,000 children waiting to be adopted in both the US and Russia.
To accelerate adoption rates and improve practices, Child Protection working group members and fellows spent this year comparing child welfare systems in the two countries. Along with holding workshops, roundtables and training sessions, the group produced a comprehensive analysis cataloguing best practices in order to enhance the improvement of child protection institutions.
“For Russia, the concept of family and mentor recruitment … is a new approach for working with adolescent orphans,” observes Anna Koudria, head of KidSave Russia and a coordinator for the SEE Child Protection Working Group.
As a result of the working group’s awareness-raising efforts, these recruitment processes are now being integrated into the Russian child protection system.
US participants also gained valuable perspectives from this collaboration. “At every Russian agency we visited,” says Ilze Earner, Associate Professor of Social Work at Hunter College, who served as an SEE Fellow, “the staff – from director to cook – has all largely been there for ten or more years. That is stability, especially for kids who don’t have to get used to a new social worker every six months as in the US.”
Most recently, Koudria and SEE Fellow Galina Semya presented the group’s achievements at the US-Russia Business Council (USRBC) Corporate Social Responsibility Roundtable in Moscow in September, 2014. Addressing representatives from the corporate, government and non-profit sectors, they spoke about possibilities for cross-sector collaboration in finding creative solutions to move orphans more quickly into family situations.