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Life Sentence: Romani Children in State Care in Romania

20 June 2011

Life Sentence: Romani Children in State Care in Romania

Romani children are overrepresented in State care in Romania. There are a number of gaps in Romanian law and policy that contribute to this, and the lack of disaggregated data collection renders existing policy ineffective in addressing this. There is no legal definition of child endangerment although situations that may lead to the removal of parental rights are described and clear methodological guidelines for assessing child endangerment are lacking. Various factors, aggravated by discrimination and social exclusion, contribute to the overrepresentation of Romani children in State care: the most common are poverty related, such as a lack of employment, inadequate housing and health care, household size, child abandonment in maternity wards and migration. Preventative social work at community level is not sufficient to help Romani families overcome entrenched poverty-related factors. Romani families also experience problems such as the right to information during child protection proceedings, bias and a lack of legal representation. In State care, some Romani children are subjected to physical abuse, ill-treatment and various forms of discrimination, and they experience discrimination in access to public services outside the institutions. There is a lack programmes to develop and promote a positive ethnic identity among Romani children in State care, which may contribute to the denial of ethnic identity by many Romani children in State care, rejection of their families and negative feelings towards Roma in general. Many prospective adoptive parents refuse to adopt Romani children and a significant number of Romani children in State care have been categorised as having a mental disability. Roman children in State care are disadvantaged on multiple grounds, including their ethnicity, their status as an institutionalised child and disability status and many are unlikely to return to their biological families.  A significant number of Romani children spend their whole childhood in State care. 

Life Sentence: Romani Children in State Care in Romania

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ERRC submission to UN HRC on Hungary (February 2018)

14 February 2018

Written Comments of the European Roma Rights Centre concerning Hungary to the UN Human Rights Committee for consideration at its 122nd session (12 Narch - 6 April 2018).

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The Fragility of Professional Competence: A Preliminary Account of Child Protection Practice with Romani and Traveller Children in England

24 January 2018

Romani and Traveller children in England are much more likely to be taken into state care than the majority population, and the numbers are rising. Between 2009 and 2016 the number of Irish Travellers in care has risen by 400% and the number of Romani children has risen 933%. The increases are not consistent with national trends, and when compared to population data, suggest that Romani and Traveller children living in the UK could be 3 times more likely be taken into public care than any other child. 

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Families Divided: Romani and Egyptian Children in Albanian Institutions

21 November 2017

There’s a high percentage of Romani and Egyptian children in children’s homes in Albania – a disproportionate number. These children are often put into institutions because of poverty, and then find it impossible ever to return to their families. Because of centuries of discrimination Roma and Egyptians in Albania are less likely to live in adequate housing, less likely to be employed and more likely to feel the effects of extreme poverty.

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