The child protection system is one of the topics on which I have focused my attention throughout my term as a member of Parliament. I have promised that during the whole time I will be a parliamentarian, I will do things that will bring about good changes in the lives of as many people living in Romania. I wish all Romanians could live with dignity and that their rights were respected. The protection system of the children is still one of the pivotal points when it comes to the provision of social services and this can only be improved through inter-institutional collaboration, dialogue and the continuous desire for evolution and improvement. In recent years, important steps have been taken to reform this system, but it still will not be fully effective until the children within the system are all prepared for the independent adult life, capable of coping with daily life, but also with unforeseen situations.
Romania has decided on closing all residential centers, so that the children in the protection system have the chance to grow and develop in family-like environments. Some of the large, old-style residential centers have already been closed, some are about to enter that process, as I wrote here.
But prior to making any plan or strategy, a clear overview is needed, as we need to analyze many more aspects regarding child care in the protection system. Accredited bodies provide statistical data at the macro level, but this data alone is not sufficient in order to fully understand the complexity of the process we need to go through in order to develop a high-performance assistance system. Children in the protection system need more than just the basic material aspects required for survival, they need to grow up in the appropriate environment for emotional development, for overcoming the traumas they have gone through and then for recovering, as well as for the needed support in everything that a good start in life entails.
In order to obtain this data, we filed requests to all 47 General Directorates of Social Assistance and Child Protection (DGASPC) in the country, asking for a series of complex information on several aspects, including the profile of children receiving protection, the causes of their entry into the system, the causes of leaving the system, the protective measures they benefit from, their medical situation – how many children are under treatment and for what conditions, the situation of adoptions or the situation of the employees of each DGASPC, for the last 10 years.
So far, Romania does not have an automatic database or any other national system of children’s records in order for all the DGASPCs to be able to centralize and exchange data in a transparent and efficient way. In order to provide the requested data, DGASPC employees were required to use the physical archive and often to check each case separately, which is why the response time was quite long, and many of the data we received was incomplete.