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Children in Romania face seven serious and urgent problems, according to "Child Rights Now!" report

2019-11-25

Four leading child protection organisations, Terre des hommes Romania, Save the Children Romania, SOS Children's Villages Romania and World Vision Romania, have joined efforts to produce the "Child Rights Now! Romania" report.  The report provides an analysis of how children's rights have been respected in the past 30 years in Romania, identifies seven serious and urgent problems that children face in this country, and highlights a series of measures to be taken to improve the situation.

The "Child Rights Now!" report was launched in Bucharest on the 20th of November during a conference held in partnership with the Romanian National Authority for the Protection of the Rights of the Child and Adoption. The event was part of the Children's Rights Festival organised by the Federation of NGOs for Children (FONPC) , to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

According to the report, the seven major child rights issues in Romania are infant and child mortality, teenage pregnancy, violence against children, the situation of the children in the special protection system, children affected by migration, access to education and children's participation in processes that affect them directly. These main selected problems are based on existing data, experts' and children's opinions and focus-group discussions that were organised with 40 children in rural areas and disadvantaged communities from urban environments.

In short, the statistics show that in Romania:

  • 46.000 children leave school early every year
  • The percentage of children that are not enrolled in schools is 6% (out of the total population), but it reaches 22% for Roma children and 29% in the case of disabled children
  • Almost one third of the children in Romania live below the national poverty line
  • 3% of children go to sleep hungry and don’t have enough food
  • 7 out of 1000 newborns die at birth
  • 1 out of 2 parents believe that corporal punishment is used for the good of the child
  • Only 42% of children aged between 718 are consulted by adults in regards to family-related issues

The signatories of the report state that "a real political commitment that could meaningfully change the situation of children in Romania requires placing children at the heart of public policies. It is for the first time that we have joined forces at national level, and we are calling with one voice to take firm, coherent, consistent and participatory measures so that the rights of the child are truly respected. We need a decent and child-friendly Romania."

For each of the problems, the "Child Rights Now!" report for Romania recommends a series of actions to address the problems:

Infant mortality:

  • care and screening during pregnancy;
  • making sure that all maternity wards have specialised equipment;
  • reducing the number of infant and child mortality can be prevented by educating the parents about these topics;
  • early monitoring of families with high risk, especially the ones in rural areas, through local networks of health mediators, community nurses and midwives.

Teenage pregnancy: 

  • education on reproductive health;
  • the availability of contraceptive methods;
  • prenatal care;
  • community nurses and health mediators.

Access to education: 

  • supporting the children, instead of punishing them for poor school performances;
  • financing programmes that strive to combat early school leaving;
  • free education (reducing the costs that families have to pay if their child is enrolled in a public school);
  • school mediators;
  • inclusive education.

Domestic violence and violence in schools: 

  • public awareness campaigns, prenatal education for positive discipline measures;
  • school mechanisms aimed at preventing violence;
  • researching the informational gaps.

Children in the protection system: 

  • supporting the families in order to prevent the separation and facilitate the reintegration;
  • transition to family-based and community-based care;
  • independent monitoring

Children affected by migration: 

  • improving data collection;
  • legal protection and guardianship for children;
  • protection of the Romanian migrant children;
  • improving the trans-national management;
  • programmes for immigrant children living in Romania.

Child participation: 

There is a series of key-areas for encouraging children’s participation:

  • School and education;
  • Child protection and adoptions;
  • Custody and family law;
  • Family decision-making;
  • Health and consent to treatment;
  • Immigration and asylum procedures;
  • Judicial procedures in which minors are involved;
  • Leisure time and media.  

We recommend:

  • improving information and awareness;
  • training of the professionals;
  • creating and respecting the procedures that encourage participation.

The report for Romania has been developedby four of the organisations that are members of the Joining Forces Alliance global initiative: Terre des hommes Romania, Save the Children Romania, SOS Children's Villages Romania and World Vision Romania. Internationally, the Joining Forces Alliance is formed by: Save the Children International, Terre des Hommes International Federation, SOS Children's Villages International, World Vision International, Childfund Alliance and Plan International. The aim of the Alliance is to fight for the rights of the children and vulnerable youth, therefore it has issued a report that stresses the challenges that children nowadays face. The international report was launched this year, in New York and Geneva and it containes information from various countries, including Romania.