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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