Dis-Interest of the Child: Romani Children in the Hungarian Child Protection System

02 January 2008

Romani children are overwhelmingly over-represented in the Hungarian child protection system. Amongst the sample of children in professional care institutions interviewed by the ERRC, 40% were of Romani origin and 18% were half-Romani; 58% in total. According to reasonable estimates, Romani children account for only 13% of the child population in Hungary. This can largely be noted to be the result of the impacts of historical and current racism and discrimination against Roma and the resulting vulnerable socio-economic position of a large percentage of Roma in Hungary. However, there are also widely voiced concerns about the manner in which the Hungarian child protection system functions. For example, it has been noted by experts in the field that deficiencies in the Hungarian child protection legal system enable child protection workers and public officials to work in a manner not fully respectful of fundamental rights of Romani and other excluded children; through, for example, the broad definition of endangerment and its application which results in children being removed from their families for material reasons, though this is banned by law. This report examines the findings and implications of research on Romani children in the Hungarian child protection system, explores the applicability of good practices from other countries and provides a series of recommendations for future actions by the Hungarian Government. View the report in English and in Hungarian

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