Children and the future

Child neglect is one of the most acute social problems in Russia. The number of orphans in Russia grows every year and is now nearing 740,000, that is 3% of the total child population in the country.

In 2006 Severstal initiated and began implementing a unique program, Road Home Program, which focuses on the comprehensive prevention of child neglect and social orphanhood in the town of Cherepovets.

The Road Home Program provides foster care for orphaned children and prevention of child neglect and social orphanhood, including early prevention. Road Home focuses on finding the solution to underlying problems resulting in orphanhood and neglect of underage children, and crisis in family relationships. For example, the Foster Parents School supports those who would like to take a child into foster care or experiences problems with foster children. The School also focuses on the prevention of foster children abandonment.

A Childhood telephone hotline is available, as well as the Psychological Advice Service, where any resident of the region can get access to professional psychological help or information on the available social services. Additionally, a whole range of other initiatives are underway.

Road Home started as a joint project of Severstal, local authorities and social and psychological workers from a non-profit organization in Cherepovets. Having proven its efficiency, in June 2009, it was given the status of a regional program in the Vologda Region.

After taking part in the regional programs competition, Road Home received a grant from the Foundation for the Support of Children in Difficult Life Situations, which was created under the initiative of the President of the Russian Federation. Therefore, the sum available for working with families in crisis to prevent child neglect and social orphanhood in the Vologda Region is now funded from three sources – regional budget, funds from Severstal and the grant from the Foundation for the Support of Children.

Experts acknowledge that currently Cherepovets and the Vologda Region are among the best examples of a successful state-private partnership in resolving social orphanhood issues in Russia.

The uniqueness of the program lies in its fundamentally new approaches to social work and in the real tripartite consolidation of efforts of:

  • the business (the Program initiator and donor - OAO Severstal);
  • authorities (co-financing – regional budget, the Cherepovets part of the Program is headed by the Mayor, the regional part is coordinated by the Department for Labor and Social Development of the Vologda Region);
  • society (as organizers and participants – healthcare and educational institutions, social security bodies, non-profit organizations).

Program results:
• more than 10,000 people receive competent psychological, social and financial assistance, and of those more than 5,000 people receive free psychological assistance, through this program every year;
• since 2007, program experts prevented 82 cases of newborn abandonment;
• since 2007, graduates of our School for Adoptive Parents adopted 88 children, and none of them was sent back to orphanage;
• our Social EMS service saved 2,822 minors from life- or health-endangering situations since 2008.