MOSCOW, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Russian officials said Friday they want to reduce the number of orphanages by half over the next four years through family placement.
Child Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov unveiled the plan Friday at a government meeting in the Irkutsk region, RIA Novosti reported.
"The task set by the president is to halve the number of such establishments [child institutions] by 2018," Astakhov said.
Russia will meet this goal by focusing on family-based alternatives to the hundreds of orphanages across the country.
"The reduction should happen not by enlarging remaining orphanages, but by placing children with families," Astakhov said.
In recent years, Russia has seen a decrease in adoption and fostering. The country has also banned adoptions to U.S. parents.
About 109,000 Russian children are waiting to be adopted, an official list on the Education Ministry website indicates.