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Improving the juvenile justice system in Romania


Terre des hommes Romania organized on 28th of November an advocacy event with a national wide participation of specialists and experts in juvenile justice and child protection. During the event, it was presented a letter written by youth and addressed to the ones that have the decisional power regarding the juvenile justice system.

Shortly, children plead for:

  • Creating more friendly materials – maps explaining the roles of all institutions, brochures presenting children’s rights created preferably by youth and children;
  • A facilitated communication between youth and specialists, in a nonformal environment that would support youth to open up with the problems they are facing – activities such as living library, workshops;
  • More participation facilitated by involving and consulting youth on developing and implementing projects addressed to them;
  • Reduce the level of discrimination between children and youngsters by debating issues in the community and concluding coherent decisions to resolve conflicts between both parties. Thus, increasing a better communication and humanity;
  • Implementing training courses on children’s rights, personal development, civic and moral spirit development (peer to peer courses).

Attending the event, Mr. Liviu Toader, General Director of the National Probation Agency, stressed that the Ministry of Justice and the National Probation Agency are direct beneficiaries of the AWAY project and are enjoying the opportunity of probation counselors to be part of the multidisciplinary team required in the intervention on the child in conflict with the law. The e-learning platform created within the project responds to the need to train the staff working in juvenile justice.

Moreover, Mr. Toader's intervention was also confirmed by one of the recommendations of the study "Juvenile diversion in Romania. Working in isolation.", namely the need for the new staff (and sometimes the more experienced staff) to be properly trained in working with minors, and to have a mentoring or supervisory system that provides adequate support to all staff.

Following this meeting, Terre des hommes Romania team together with the participants established the following advocacy priorities needed in the intervention in the field of minor in conflict with the law:

  • Development of specific and detailed methodologies, tools and standards for working with children in conflict with the law benefiting from: family placement, maternal or residential assistant and specialized supervision;
  • Promoting alternative methods of suing minors;
  • Promoting a public awareness campaign to prevent negative perceptions about children and youngsters in conflict with the law;
  • Friendly practices for children and youngsters in conflict with the law;
  • Access to programs that emphasize mental health and resilience;
  • Access to programs focusing on the reintegration of those in detention and re-education centers by acquiring professional skills and competences.

"I am glad that at this meeting all the specialists involved in juvenile justice understood that justice is done with the children. Their opinion counts! We want to involve youngsters in creating services that genuinely respond to their development needs and to facilitate the reintegration of children in conflict with the law," says Cristina Vlădescu, AWAY project manager at Terre des hommes Romania.

The AWAY project aims to raise public awareness of alternative methods of solving the criminal process and to increase the level of information on the procedural safeguards of EU Directives 2016/800, 2012/13, 2012/29 applicable to minors in conflict with the law.