Romania

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Romania has been through a significant transformation of its child protection system over the last 15 years. This has seen the number of children in institutions from 100,000 in 2000 decrease to 8,027 by 2015. However, there is a lack of funding and there are still cases of refurbishment or renovation of institutions, with no prioritization for institutions closure. Over 50% of children in Romania suffer from severe deprivation and the main reason for children’s institutionalization is poverty. The Government’s target is to close all institutions by 2022.

In Romania the main reason for children entering care is poverty1, 2. However, poverty is combined with lack of parenting skills, domestic violence, neglect, single parents or very young parents. Over 50% of Romania’s children suffer from severe deprivation, according to the last results released by the EU. Thus, investment in community based services aimed at child abandonment is crucial in Romania. The majority of community based services are placed in and around cities, when the greatest need of these services is in the rural areas. However, even where community based services do exist, the parents are not aware of their existence or they do not know how to access them or what kinds of services are offered there. Also, many parents do not have the identification cards necessary and so they cannot access the services and enroll their children.

By the end of 2014, there were 58,178 children in care in total in Romania and approximately 8,892 children in institutional care. By the end of 2015 there were 51,021 children in care, a decrease of approximately 7,000 children in one year. The number of children in institutional care has also been decreased by approximately 700 making the number of children in institutional care 8,027 by the end of 2015.

The majority of children in care in Romania, 32,602/51,021 children, are now growing up in family based care or community based care. Family based care is regarded as being the best type of care for children and currently Romania is making efforts to transition from institutional to family based care. The 1,120 small group homes offer quality care to children. There are instances when, due to budget constraints, there are insufficient numbers of care staff working in the homes. Nevertheless, the staff are well trained and provide high quality services to children.

The Government’s target is to close down all institutions by 20223. However, there are still no funds available for closing down old-type institutions. There are two calls for funds (one regarding prevention and one regarding DI) launched, as shown in Latest Development section. Moreover, there are instances when local authorities insist to direct money towards the refurbishment/renovation of oldtype institutions, with no prioritization for institutions closure.

FAST FACTS & latest developments
  • • 8,027 children live in institutional care, 3,959 of those are children with disabilities. The State is the main provider of institutional care.
    • 32,602 children grow up in family based care.
    • 59,277 children benefited from support in order to avoid their separation from families1.
    • 24% of community based services are in rural areas, where the needs are greatest.
    • The National DI Action Plan is under development. The target is to close down all institutions and provide family based care to children in care.
    • EU Funds are provisioned and will be allocated for the implementation of the policy/framework. Regional Operational Programmes and Operational Programmes Human Capital will be allocated, but we do not know yet the size and distribution of funds.
    • The number of social housing available for youth care leavers is one of the lowest in the EU and as a result, the National Package for Combating Poverty included provisions regarding social housing for youth care leavers and the funds for social housing over the next years should increase at least 5 times in order to reach a minimal acceptable.
    • Funds for prevention will be made available under the form of “social grants” and this aspect was discussed in a meeting in Bucharest with representatives of NGOs and the Ministry of European Funds.
    • Funds for closure of institutions will be available under the grant “Children first – 2016”. This grant was put up for discussions and suggestions and will be implemented once the suggestions are incorporated

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1    Hope and Homes for Children Study: https://drive.google.com /file/d/0B3UFn1Xvp24mQUVubFVkZ0Z5YkU/edit?usp=sharing
2    World Bank and Unicef study: http://www.unicef.ro/wp-content/uploads/Copiii_din_sistemul_de_protectie_a_copilului.pdf
3    http://www.copii.ro/anpdca-content/uploads/2015/01/Anexa-1-Strategia-nationala-aprobata-de-Guvern.pdf

Source: Hope and Homes for Children Romania