Ksenya is a devoted mother. But her son Dmitry has severe autism, and caring for him takes continual effort and it uses up a considerable amount of her energy. His sister, four-year old Yana, also demands his mother’s attention. Ksenya is thankful for the Short Break Service, through which two carers – Tatiana and Marina – come regularly to the home to help her look after Dmitry. This respite allows Ksenya time to research her son’s condition and continue her search for treatment and solutions for the associated challenges she faces, as well as to simply do the family grocery shopping. “Without the Short Break Service, my life would be much sadder”, she says with a smile.

These precious breaks are organised by Partnership for Every Child (P4EC), which focuses on reducing the need for children to be taken away from their parents and ensuring that they feel protected and safe within the family environment. P4EC operates in Russia’s second largest city, St Petersburg, where Ksenya lives with her children, and also in Leningrad Oblast, where it’s had great success in reducing the proportion of children living without parental care.

Robin travelled to St Petersburg to tell Dmitry’s story, as well as other children’s, for EveryChild (now known as Family for Every Child), which provided financial support and guidance to P4EC. The organisation wanted to showcase the impact that P4EC’s work was having, particularly in achieving appropriate, high quality care choices for the children its partner was working with. Robin took care to exercise cultural sensitivity and create a friendly, open rapport with the families he met. The resulting intimate insights into family life are testimony to his ability to make his subjects feel completely at ease with him.


A break for parents with children in need

Children, disability

Family for Every Child (formerly EveryChild)

St Petersburg, Russia

Camera settings
27mm, ISO 1600, 1/50, f/5.0