First steps: Respite foster care in Russia

20 Mar, 2015

Partnership for Every Child (P4EC), Russia, has launched a new website this week, showcasing their innovative Peredishka [short break] service.

P4EC focuses on preventing the loss of parental care for children and have developed this form of respite foster care as a preventative measure to support children and families in crisis.

In particular, Peredishka is a means to relieve the long-term pressure on parents of children with disabilities by providing them with short breaks. The children are offered care in another family which can meet their changing developmental needs, expand their social network and enhance quality of life.

Below one mother explains what the service has meant to her and her daughter.

The Silaev Family

Dasha is 16. She is a curious, sociable, kind and cheerful girl who loves music and books. In the first year of her life, Dasha was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy which made it almost impossible for her to walk.

“I never believed that Dasha would not be able to move independently”, says Dasha’s mum, Galina, “The main purpose of my life became her treatment and rehabilitation, her interests and development.

“Sometimes we did not have enough money for essentials, but she had sessions with a speech therapist, had massages, went to a good nursery and then to school.

“Dasha is my life. I am constantly looking for better centres, better specialists and for rehabilitation courses. We are always together. We never had a dad or grandparents alongside us, we are all alone: me, Dasha and her health. I could not stay at home a single day on Dasha’s disability benefits and worked night shifts at the hospital ER. We lived in a boarding house and my neighbours constantly helped me look after my daughter. During the day, we went to her school, then to the clinic, rehabilitation centre or different institutions to obtain documents. I never had time to go to the clinic for personal check-ups. My cure-all is my job, my ER team where I can socialise with others.

Thanks to her mother’s efforts and belief in success, Dasha began to walk. First, with support and now almost independently using a walker.

The constant stress associated with care of her daughter, physical and emotional exhaustion brought her to a state of chronic fatigue. The neighbours agreed to stay with Dasha less and less and sometimes would even let them down. In 2009, Galina turned to the “Peredishka” [short breaks] programme for help. A professional family from Peredishka comes to Dasha several times a week. They help the girl get ready for school, wash, comb and braid her thick curly hair, do the necessary exercises, read a lot, talk, laugh, and even sing karaoke.

“Dasha’s success was largely due to the professional mothers from the “Peredishka” programme and their enormous contribution to our family over these years. Employees of Partnership for Every Child became like family to us. In tough and difficult moments, they comforted and supported me and encouraged Dasha. I sincerely want to thank the organisation for the “respite”! Without it, I would simply perish!”

Read more on the new Peredishka website:

Picture captions:

Pic 1 – Dasha and her mother
Pic 2 – Dasha, Marina (foster care mother) and (on the right) Dasha’s mother – Galina

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