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Russian lawmakers approve child foster care bill

MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) - The State Duma adopted on Friday Russia's first single law on legal guardianship in the final, third reading.

The upper house of parliament has been debating the law for three years, but it was adopted only after president-elect Dmitry Medvedev criticized MPs in early April over delays.

The State Duma also adopted amendments to the country's Civil, Family and Housing codes after approving the law. Both the law and the amendments are expected to come into force on September 1, 2008.

Under the amendments, a child over 10 years of age could be adopted only with his or her consent. The law prohibits different foster parents from adopting siblings unless evidence exists that it would benefit the orphan.

The amendments also make it possible to conclude fostering contracts.

Children and disabled children can be fostered on a contractual basis in Russia. Such contracts are signed between the public authority in charge of the fosterling and the foster parent or organization. The foster parent receives money for his services and care.

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