This thesis investigates the position of biological parents within the system of child welfare in Russia today. Based on semi-structured interviews and document analysis I examine the relation between vulnerable families and the state, revealing challenges concerning both the prevention of problems at an early stage and the process after a child has been removed from his or her parents. Within a conceptual framework of negative and positive liberty, value pluralism and human capability, I argue that the combination of a reactive and declarative nature of the state systems of child and social protection respectively, makes the position of biological parents on the one hand an invisible one, due to a high degree of negative liberty provided by the state. On the other hand, this invisibility stands in conflict with the low degree of human capability among many Russians. The result is that when the maladjustment of the biological parents is finally detected, they suddenly become very visible to the state. This very often leads to the removal of the child from his or her biological parents due to the situation’s extreme nature when first revealed, thus depriving both the child and the parents of their negative liberty.