The Russian government has approved a law that obligates couples who want to adopt a child to get special training beforehand, the official government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta said on Friday.
Alina Levitskaya, a department head at the Science and Education Ministry, said the parental classes will provide couples with the pedagogical and legal tools they need in order to accept abandoned children into their families.
The classes persuade almost a third of prospective parents to drop the idea of adoption, she said.
Under the new law, which takes effect on September 1, 2012, adoptive parents or guardians must also present certificates attesting that they have not been convicted of a crime endangering the life and health of others.
According to the Russian Education and Science Ministry, about 150,000 children were available for nationwide adoption in 2009. Almost 9,000 of them were adopted and 77,000 were placed with foster families.
U.S. citizens have adopted 60,000 Russian children over the past 15 years. As of January 2012, 17 of those children had died as a result of child abuse.