A Federation Council working group has been discussing issues faced by large families and has reported on welfare support given in the regions as well as on the results of recent monitoring. According to the Federation Council Press Office, a draft law defining the status of large families, and covering measures to offer them state support at federal and regional levels, may be ready as early as the Spring session.
‘Strengthening support for large families is our chief aim’, the deputy chair of the Federation Council, Galina Karelova, said.
The senator reported on conclusions drawn on the basis of monitoring federal and regional legislation, and on benefits offered to large families in the regions. According to Karelova, all regions of the Russian Federation have now accepted a legal framework that outlines and regulates welfare benefits for families with three or more children. All regions offer support in four basic areas for larger families: health, social protection, education, housing and public utilities, and the provision of land.
Families do not always receive the support they have been promised, however. The Agency for Social Information has reported on 12 families that have formed an interregional union to call for a separate federal law defending the rights of parents with big families.
‘Different regions offer help that varies in terms of scope and substance, but what is most worrying is the fact that the accepted standards are not always applied,’ Karelova confirmed.
She said that the right of large families to receive free medication on prescription, for a child up to the age of six, is implemented in just 62 regions. A discount for housing services is available in 71 regions. Support for leisure and recreational activities for children is available in 47 regions. Children from large families receive free breakfast and lunch at school in 51 regions.
‘The package of benefits is determined by each region and depends on its resources. But what has been adopted and imposed by law must be implemented,’ Karelova emphasised.
In line with the conclusions of the discussion, the working group recommended to regional authorities that laws and regulations prescribing benefits for large families should be implemented at a level no lower than that established on 1 January 2018.