Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday called for better screening of Russian adoptive parents after learning that more than 4,500 children were adopted and then returned to orphanages last year.
"It is important to carefully select the guardians who want to raise the children," Medvedev said during a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets at his Gorki residence outside Moscow.
"In regard to those who are returned, this of course is a very delicate issue . … But in any case the family should be prepared to understand their responsibility and the problems that might arise in an adoption," he said, according to Interfax.
Medvedev said training programs for prospective adoptive parents should be available in all of Russia's 83 regions by 2015.
Golodets, who oversees child adoptions as part of her portfolio on social issues and presented the figures on returned orphans to Medvedev, said that the overall number of children in orphanages has decreased from 699,000 in 2006 to 633,000 last year.
The issue of a child being rejected by his adoptive family ignited an international scandal in 2010 when a U.S. mother sent her 7-year-old son unaccompanied on a plane back to Russia, saying she could not care for him properly.
Moscow threatened to stop all international adoptions for good. But the U.S. and Russia subsequently forged an agreement that tightens controls on adoptions, including the introduction of mandatory training for adoptive parents. The agreement went into force Nov. 1.