"Russia is a global leader in the state policy of child safety. Official statistics suggest that in the past 5 years the number of children in our country has gone up by 12%, while over the past 10 years the number of orphans has fallen 3-fold, meanwhile 80% of the challenged children are involved in preschool education and in other programs," said Analytical Center expert Inna Karakchieva speaking at the 12th National Forum titled The Nation's Health is the Foundation for a Flourishing Russia in a discussion titled A Decade of Childhood: Objectives, Priorities, Prospects.
According to Ms. Karakchieva, when it comes to social policy, today the country's priorities are related to assured accessibility, quality and standardization. One confirmation of that is the May decree of the President On the National Goals and the Strategic Objectives for the Development of the Russian Federation in the Period until 2024, in which the majority of the targets deal with the development of a socially responsible state and strategies ensuring personal success of individuals and the success of society as a whole.
However, despite the progress made so far, we must bear in mind the challenges the state is still facing today, the expert believes. The demographic crisis stemming from low birth rates is a result of a multitude of factors. These range from the household income of families with children (today it's lower than for child-free families and a lot of families with kids still live in abject poverty) to the fact that support for such families is often proclaimed only but never actually provided.
"The falling numbers of health care organizations, deterioration of the early help system, the continued growth in the number of children suffering abuse at home, the increasing impact of social media on deviant behaviors in children and youths, lack of adequate regulations to govern a lot of issues in this area; all these factors are not helping to solve the demographic problem either," Ms. Karakchieva explained.
The expert is of the opinion that these and other factors suggest that a comprehensive approach needs to be developed to create a safe childhood system. The much touted interdepartmental cooperation is still rather poorly developed, there are no national childhood safety standards, the monitoring and assessment of child welfare are only just beginning to be developed.
"Under these conditions, while we note that overall our society has become more active in its efforts to protect children, it has to be acknowledged that modern management mechanisms need to be brought into the picture with broader public discussions of the measures being put in place," Ms. Karakchieva summed up.
Photo: from open sources