A bill that would restrict the grounds for terminating parental rights may soon be submitted to the Russian State Duma, the director of the Public Center of Legal Expertise and Legislative Activity, Olga Letkova, said on Friday.
Members of the public and the Russian Orthodox Church took part in drafting the bill, she said. The bill could become a kind of alternative to the juvenile justice system. Among its provisions solidifying the legal priority of blood relatives when deciding who should receive custody of children, the inalienability of parental rights in most cases, and the introduction of criminal and administrative responsibility of officials for the unwarranted removal of children from a family.
“Before the revolution Russia never had the institution of terminating parental rights, because parents do not receive their children from the state. We believe that (parental) rights were inalienable before the revolution, and they have to be inalienable now, too,” the expert said.
She added that the exception should be those cases where parents violate the rights of children, when it puts their lives and health at risk, or if a parent commits a criminal action in relation to the child.
“In other cases, the family should be entitled to independence, autonomy,” Letkova said.
She also said that any social disadvantages of a family should not be a cause for destroying it.
The bill will be introduced to the Duma after discussions by representatives of different factions.