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Certified parents. The “Professional Foster Family” project may become nationwide


The State Duma will soon review the first reading of amendments to the Family Code. The program has been running efficiently in the Northern Capital for three years. Future parents undergo training and receive a corresponding certificate. After which they can adopt parentless children. That way these children adapt better to life within society. Alexander Brius met the participants of the project


Anna Verbitskaya, participant of the “Professional Foster Family” project: “I held my own investigation and traced the path to adoption. Video surveillance. Mila was brought in by two men from Tajikistan”

Anna Verbitskaya is a current police captain, mother of three. Last spring, she saw a baby with big brown eyes in a regional adoption office. She could not just leave her there, so she took her home. There was little known about the girl – only approximate age. The birth date – March 3rd – was chosen together with the name. This day commemorates Saint Kamilla. Her last name – Knyazheva – came from the district’s name. Her new life in a Russian family has begun. She is now surrounded by elder sisters and a brother, enjoys games and motherly care. Pain caused by betrayal and memories of her past life are starting to fade.

Anna Verbitskaya, participant of the “Professional Foster Family” project: “A few months ago Mila started talking”

Alexander Brius, reporter: “What was her 1st word?”

Anna Verbitskaya, participant of the “Professional Foster Family” project: “Mama”.

Parents like Anna are extremely rare. Those who love someone else’s children and have no vested interests, according to local adoption office. Nadezhda Sharonova cannot recall similar cases in 16 years of working here.

Nadezhda Sharonova, head of adoption office MO “Konstantinovskoye”: “It’s not about applying efforts to oneself. She’s just such a person, she lives this way. It’s her life”.

It’s been 3 years since a project for such people as Anna has been operating in St. Petersburg. Training of professional foster families.

Every attendee gets such certificate.

Right now the city has 19 certified parents. This document will allow taking temporary custody over parentless children. In a family, these children will get much more care and attention than at childcare services. All candidates went through psychological evaluation and they now know how to handle a child.

This program emerged after large-scale studies which showed – the 1st years of life are crucially important for the further development. The experiment was supported by the State Duma – the bill amending the Family Code will soon be reviewed in the first reading. There are more than enough grounds for such changes. Around 250 children are abandoned in St. Petersburg’s maternity wards every year.

Irina Zinchenko, director of a social project: “Let’s imagine there’s an emergency – a mother is admitted into a hospital or, let’s say, she’s a drug addict and needs a rehab. She wants to cure herself, but while she does that her child need to be taken care of. Our professional families can take a child into temporary custody – up to half a year”

Captain Verbitskaya recently received this certificate. She has plans of adopting Mila, naming her Alexandra and giving her own last name. She also wants to take one more boy in – with a complicated disease. Anna is not afraid of hardships. She even wants to sell her apartment and buy a more spacious one.

Anna Verbitskaya, participant of the “Professional Foster Family” project: “I’m all for letting such babies have a family. I wish could help out more of them. If I had a larger house, I would’ve taken more kids, and I have enough warmth for all of them”