Moscow, February 26 – RIA Novosti, Lydia Belkova. In Moscow, a pensioner is seeking the return of her grandson from a shelter to her family. The mother, suffering from schizophrenia, was limited in parental rights, and the guardianship did not leave the child with the grandmother. Kolya was taken to an orphanage, and then sent to a mental hospital because of his aggressive behavior. Deputies and human rights activists note that in Russia there are no legal rights to grandchildren. In the spring, the State Duma will consider a bill designed to solve this problem.
The troubles in the Moscow Ivanov family (the names and surnames of the heroes were changed at their request) began three years ago. The guardianship received a signal that the mother of a six-year-old boy does not take good care of him.
“As I was told, a woman from a neighboring house, who was feeding pigeons with my daughter, complained,” says Kolya’s grandmother Valentina Ivanova. “Lyuba (the mother of the child. – Ed.) Is a naive person, she told about her illness, and she hurried to react “.
The first time social security officers visited the Ivanovs for a check in August 2018. The apartment has long been in need of repair, but the pensioner and her daughter did not have enough time or money. Ivanova confesses: the house was a mess then, but then they cleaned everything up.
A year later, an anonymous complaint came in again. The guardianship staff came again – they were ordered to make repairs, and for this time the child was placed in a family and childhood support center.
Are you still alive?
At the age of eight, Kolya became an avid gamer. He behaved aggressively. The adults decided that the smartphone was to blame. And they themselves turned to the employees of social protection, who promised to help with upbringing. It all ended in court. In February 2020, the guardianship filed a lawsuit limiting Ivanova's parental rights. Officials said that preventive work with the family did not work out, and the mother's health deteriorated.
They stood up for Lyubov Ivanov: a specialist from the PND explained to the court that the family lives normally, the defendant is registered at the dispensary and regularly visits specialists.
Nevertheless, the court concluded that the child was in danger. True, what it is, they did not specify.
In October 2020, Kolya was sent to an orphanage. The grandmother assures that the social services did not tell her about the so-called pre-emptive right to temporary custody – it can be issued while the issue of permanent custody is being decided. In this case, the child stays with loved ones. Ivanova, not knowing this, was forced to “put up with the court order and, at the request of the social workers, signed all the documents.”
And when she realized that she was misled, she demanded that Kolya be returned home, to a renovated apartment. According to her, in the guardianship they reacted biasedly to the request – they considered that the elderly person could not be responsible for the child.
“I came to them, and they were surprised: they thought I had already died,” the pensioner recalls. “This is their attitude. And I took care of our boy, took him to school, did his homework with him, played. For nine years I raised him together with mom, and no one had any questions. “
Ivanova was denied temporary custody. They offered to issue a permanent one. It is necessary to collect a lot of documents – it will take several months. In a pandemic, certificates, for example from a hospital, are even more difficult to obtain.
Moreover, the department of social protection of RIA Novosti said that they would give Kolya to their grandmother only if they settled separately from the mother, who poses a danger.
“The guardianship authorities do not interfere with the communication of the grandmother with the grandson,” the officials assure. “She regularly visits him at the center for promoting family education. The last time the social security staff spoke with her was on January 26, 2021. They helped to draw up documents for the guest regime, and she, if desired, on weekends, vacations and holidays can take the grandson, which she did repeatedly. “
It's time for grandmothers to die
Children are taken away from close relatives and sent to an orphanage due to imperfect laws. If the child is not with his parents, according to the Family Code he is neglected, even if he lives at home with his grandmother or grandfather.
To fill this gap, a group of State Duma deputies has developed and introduced a bill on grandmothers. The authors propose that with the consent of the parents, the child could not only communicate, but also be with his grandmother, grandfather, sisters and brothers. Now the deputies are waiting for the government's response and expect that the first reading will take place in the spring session.
“Children's rights are violated due to the lack of correct regulation in the Family Code and understanding of the traditional way of life of the Russian family, where grandparents are actively involved in upbringing,” says Natalya Kostenko, co-author of the bill, State Duma deputy, to RIA Novosti. “I keep receiving complaints from parents and For example, in the Novokubansky district, a mother with a baby was in the hospital. The guardianship at that moment took away the second child from the grandmother, although everyone lived together. Our bill should close the hole in the law and exclude such situations. “
The initiative also assumes: if a child is left without parental care due to their death or deprivation of rights, then he can automatically stay with his grandmother and another close relative until permanent custody is established.
The amendments are also supported by human rights activists. Viktoria Rashina, head of the Legal Aid Center, Mama in Law, ANO, says that relatives of children who have ended up in the orphanage constantly turn to her.
“According to the law, grandparents now have a preferential right to formalize custody. But social protection sends the child to an orphanage, believing that the grandmother will not be able to cope – it’s time for her to die, put the funeral on the coffin.
According to human rights activist Victoria Rashina, the Ivanovs' case is a vivid confirmation of how necessary the amendments are now. Kolya could have stayed at home, he would not have suffered psychological trauma.
“At first, no one tells the grandmother about the preferential right to temporary custody. Then they refuse to return the child, because he is already in the orphanage,” she concludes.
“Why include this in the law?”
However, some experts criticize the initiative.
“Even today, no one forbids children to be with their relatives,” says Anton Zharov, a lawyer for family and juvenile law. “Why introduce this into the law? On the other hand, if the amendments are adopted, the question will arise why a child cannot live, for example, with a cousin “.
Zharov also considers untenable the argument that often guardianship “without trial and investigation” takes children away from close relatives.
“As if this norm would change something. Guardianship will take the child in any situation, if it decides that he feels bad and his legal rights are violated. They can even take it away from his parents. Control is needed here, there should be public councils, observers – like PMC in prisons “, – the lawyer considers.
Mom has a diagnosis, which means he is also sick
The reluctance of the officials to leave Kolya with his grandmother led the boy to a mental hospital – the orphanage decided that he was too aggressive. The boy, who is now nine, has been in the hospital for a month.
According to his grandmother, he really showed aggression – just because of the separation from his family. In addition, the woman notes, other children could have provoked him. For example, Kolya said that during the medical examination he was beaten before being sent to the shelter.
“If he got into a fight at school, he is the only one to blame,” says Ivanova. “Classmates can, but he can’t. Just because my mother has a diagnosis, which means that he is also ill. They think that only because of this he needs to be hospitalized.” …
The Department of Social Security denies beatings and harsh treatment, emphasizing that “there are cameras everywhere.”
Now Ivanova spends her entire pension on lawyers and is trying to return her grandson through court, whom, according to her, “they are being stuffed with psychotropic drugs for no reason.”