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(in the USSR), a state institution for rearing children who have been separated from their parents by circumstances or whose parents have died, as well as children who require state aid and protection as a result of their parents’ illness or loss of parental rights.
In 1918 the prerevolutionary children’s orphanages, which had been charity organizations, were reorganized by a decree of the Council of People’s Commissars into state children’s homes. In the first years of Soviet power children’s homes were under the direction of the People’s Commissariat for Social Security (children were placed on the same footing as members of society who are not capable of work and who are maintained by the state). In 1920 children’s homes became part of the public education system. The creation of the state system of children’s homes played an important role in eliminating child neglect and homelessness during the Civil War. During the Great Patriotic War (1941-45) children’s homes were instrumental in maintaining and bringing up children of Soviet soldiers and partisans and children whose parents had perished.
There are two basic types of children’s home: preschool homes for children between the ages of three and seven and school homes for children between the ages of seven and 18. Preschool children’s homes base their work on the program of education provided in kindergartens. The children in school children’s homes study in the schools of their respective mikroraion (neighborhood unit in urban planning). The children’s homes, together with the schools, resolve problems relating to communist upbringing and to the all-around development of children and prepare them for life on their own. At each children’s home there is a board of guardians, a public agency that assists the teaching staff in organizing the upbringing and education of the children and in strengthening the material and technical base of the home. The Soviet public shows great concern for the children’s homes. Industrial enterprises, various institutions, kolkhozes, and sovkhozes act as patrons of these homes.
As the material well-being of the working people improves, the number of children’s homes and of children educated in these institutions decreases. Thus, in 1971 there were 1,031 homes with 109,000 children, whereas in 1958 there were 4,065 homes with 367,000 children.
L. K. BALIASNAIA