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Mikhail Firsov & Irina Namestnikova & Elena Studenova, Moskow State Regional University

Villages for Children as an Alternative Form of Foster Care in Russian FamiliesWhat do carers do to promote education of children in care? A study of attitudes, aspirations and behavior of children and young people and their relationship to educational outcomes

Villages for children are settlements for children residence under conditions close to family environment: one professional mother takes care of 6-8 children. The activity of villages for children is based on the following key principles: mother in this village is the head of the family. On a competitive basis single women eager to give their love to children deprived of parental care are selected for this role. Before to become the head of the family they undergo necessary training. In villages children of different age are brought up, siblings are never separated; each family permanently resides in a cozy detached house running the housekeeping individually. The village consists of 12-15 family houses. It is not a mere group of buildings for foster children and their mothers-carers. First of all this is a society of like-minded people and non-traditional child care center run by the director who lives there with his family and renders active assistance to everybody.
The State Duma Committee on family, women and children affairs initiated preparation of the draft law which stipulates transformation of orphanages into villages for children. In legislators’ opinion, in such a way it will be possible to achieve optimal socialization of children without parental care. Villages for children proved their advantages over orphanages: it’s better for orphans and more beneficial for the state. Solution to the problem of legal status for such settlements shall be secured at the federal level.

Keywords: villages for children, mother-carer, socialization of children