Russia is now undergoing a major child welfare reform. From 2010, the Russian government has made new openings that turn attention to so-called disadvantaged families and vulnerable children, especially those left without parental care. The on-going reform on the idea of every child’s right to grow up in a family and it strives to dismantle the massive system of children homes by promoting domestic adoptions, developing foster family system and creating support services for families to prevent “social orphanhood” (sotsial’noe sirotstvo).

Besides analyzing the national policies, this international and multi-disciplinary research project analyzes the changes brought by the reform in several regions of Russia. Such a research design makes possible to compare the development of a child welfare system, its regional implication and practices.

The on-going reform can be conceptualized as deinstitutionalization – meaning the closing of large institutions as well as development of foster family system and support services for families – which is a phenomenon that extends beyond Russia. Similar processes have taken place in many countries.

This project sheds light on Russia’s child welfare system, welfare regime, new conservative and familialistic ideology and functioning of the tripartite governmental system in the country.

The research project is hosted by the Aleksanteri Institute of University of Helsinki and the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies – Choices of Russian Modernisation. The project is funded by the three-year research grant of University of Helsinki, research project grant from Kone Foundation and Academy of Finland post-doctoral fellowship to the project leader.

While this project focuses on the changes in the ideologies and ideas behind the reform and how they change the institutional design, another project Live, Work or Leave? Youth – wellbeing and the viability of (post) extractive Arctic industrial cities in Finland and Russia, 2018-2020 zooms into wellbeing of young adults leaving care and transitioning to their independent young adult life.