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Education and protection of child in Romania

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    Education and protection of child in Romania Education and protection of child in Romania Document Transcript

    • Education and Protection of Child in Romania Social Policies on the Protection and Education of the Child The Constitution of Romania, adopted in 1991, provides for the observance of the child’s right to education and protection and for state’s obligation to elaborate the national policy on the care, education, social and medical care of children, on the prevention of child institutionalization, on the social integration of children with special needs, on the rights and obligations of the family. The legislation has been adjusted to the European and international regulations on the observance of child rights, on child adoption, on parents’ education. After 1990, Romania signed and ratified many of the most important international conventions in the field. The legislation on child protection and education is applied by: the Sate Secretariat for the Handicapped, established in 1991 as the major institution for the protection and education of children with special needs; the National Committee for Child Protection, set up in 1993 as an interministerial body designing child strategies and co-ordinating all activities developed by involved governmental institutions in the field; in 1997, the institution became the Department for Child Protection under the direct control of the Government of Romania, while preserving its initial attributions; the previous legislation on child adoption and court-declared child desertion has been modified; the new legislation reconsiders adoption role and procedures in agreement with international standards in the field; the allocation system of state funds has changed; the child is the beneficiary of the allocation till the age of 16 (or 18, if attending a form of public education), irrespective of the child’s status in the family, parents’ income, or of the child’s place of residence; maternity leave is granted for a period of two years, period for which the mother’s employment place is maintained; children with special needs are granted financial facilities (double allocation amount, treatment tickets, free or discount transportation, etc.), while their parents also receive state support (monthly allocation for child care, amounting to the salary of a social worker; mothers are granted medical leave for child protection until the child reaches the age of 18); children from poor families receive social allowances.
    • A series of documents on the policy in the field have also been prepared: "The National Action Plan for Child Support" of 1995 establishes the principles and the directions for action in child education, protection, and health care, according to the Constitution of Romania and the UN Declaration on Children’s Rights; "Government Strategy for Child Protection: 1997-2000" (1997) proposed a set of legal acts on the strategic elements of the child protection system: a decentralized infrastructure, reorganized child protection institutions, redefinition of the family role in child education and care, the setting up of the social and maternal assistance, involvement of the civic society. In 1999, Romania’s Rebirth through Education Alliance was constituted from public and governmental institutions, private and non-governmental organizations under the aegis of the Presidency of Romania. The Alliance has designed a national macro-programme -"Romania Educational". The envisaged objective is a partnership of the central and local authorities and the representatives of the civic society in the field of child education and protection. Despite it all, changes in the field of social policies on child protection an education failed to achieve a global reconsideration of the system, retaining a rather fragmented character. The steps taken were aimed at updating the older legislation that was specific of a centralized system of protection and completely controlled by the state. The need was felt for regulations able to satisfy punctual issues concerning in particular the children in disfavored situations: expansion of the "street children" phenomenon, increase of the HIV-AIDS cases among children, explosion of international adoptions, etc. These regulations were lacking a cohesive action strategy, clearly defined priorities in point of child education and protection, a strategy pertaining to a cohesive legal framework and envisaging restructuring and decentralization of the administrative structure, a revised institutional system, and the clear definition of the role played by the civic society. Child Education and Care: Institutions and Procedures Responsible Institutions and Financing In Romania, the main central institutions responsible for the co-ordination and definition of the policies in the field of child protection and education are: the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Health Care, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the Ministry of Justice, the State Secretariat for the Handicapped. These institutions and their corresponding regional structures - county school inspectorates, county and local councils, mayors - are responsible for the budget planning and management of the child protection institutions (space, equipment, drugs, teaching devices, etc.).
    • In agreement with the new law on local public funds, allocation and management of resources is also decentralized in the field of child protection and education. Thus, local funds are spent on maintenance, current and capital repair works, and investments in public services specialized in child education and protection. After 1989, in addition to public financing, child protection and education benefited form an important financial support from international organizations: International Monetary Fund, World Bank, UNICEF, European Union, Council of Europe, UNDP, etc. All the above are supplemented by the financial and material contributions obtained through charity, donations, sponsoring by enterprises and the civic society. Education and Protection Institutions for Children A series of institutions develop activities targeted at children’s education and care: institutions for child protection and care - nurseries, nursery schools, pre-school foster homes, juvenile centers - for children from families with social and economic problems, orphans, and abandoned children; medical institutions such as home hospitals for children with serious psycho- physical deficiencies requiring specialized medical assistance; educational institutions - kindergartens; institutions for special education - special pre-school child homes, special kindergartens – their educational programme is adjusted to categories of children’s special needs. Most of the institutions designed for the education and protection of the child are public institutions. After 1989, private institutions with similar activities came into being; their activity is regulated by the specific legislation issued by the Department for Child Protection. The major forms of institutions destined to the protection and education of the child are: Nursery schools subordinated to the Ministry of Health Care, caring for children with a normal psychophysical development, from the age of 2 months to the age of 3. The children attending the crèches have their own families, but the family cannot afford the time required for child protection and education. Function of both parents’ activity, the children may be placed with these institutions for day care or week care.
    • Hospital homes care for children aged between 3-18, with motor handicaps and serious mental deficiency. The County Commission for Juvenile Protection makes the decision for institutionalization in such homes. Most of the children here come from nurseries. In 1997, there were 33 hospital homes caring for 4,473 children, of which 6.5 percent are up to 6 year old. A small percentage (about 6.8 percent) per year leave the institution: some return to their natural family (8.9 percent), 80 percent leave for another care institution, and the rest are left outside the protection system. Juvenile receiving centers have a transitory character and are designed for children aged 3 to 18 with behavioral and social adjustment difficulties. In 1997, there were 40 such centers sheltering 379 children. The centers place their children with families or other protection institutions. Homes for Pre-schoolers, subordinate to the Ministry of National Education, are designed for children aged between 3 and 6 years, orphans, abandoned, or from disorganized or poor families. Most of such children come from nursery schools.. When leaving the protection institutions for pre-schoolers, about 30 percent of the children are directed toward institutions of a similar type for ages between 6 and 18, such as: school-age children’s homes, deficient children’s homes, rehabilitation centres, workshop home. Each year, about 9 percent of the institutionalised children place themselves outside the protection system. Many of them become "street children". The 1995 investigation undertaken by the "Save the Children" organisation showed that out of the 220 street children in Bucharest, 23 percent were children who had left protection institutions. With a view to improving the situation of institutionalised children, the Department for Child Protection has initiated an ample process of establishing the priorities and reorganisation of the training, conversion, and professional specialisation of the specialists in the field of child protection: social workers, maternal workers, specialists in social pedagogy, personnel employed by public services specialised in child protection. Special school operate for children with special needs, both in public education network and in pre-school child homes. Inter-school logopedic centres employing specialised logopedics teachers are organised as structures of integrated special education. According to Article 45 in the Law on Education, a systematic monitoring of the evolution of the special needs children is carried out and proposals can be advanced for the operative reorientation from the special to the mass school. Such proposals are advanced by the teacher and school psychologist having worked with the child, with the family or legal tutor’s agreement. Children with special educational needs, who could not be reoriented toward public mass school until the completion of their primary education, will continue their
    • schooling in special education units - gymnasiums, vocational and post-higher secondary schools – according to the type and degree of their handicap. Kindergartens are educational institutions addressing children in the 3-7 age group. The network of kindergartens in the pre-school network includes: normal programme kindergartens, full-day kindergartens, one-week programme kindergartens; kindergartens for deficient children, kindergartens in homes for pre-schoolers, and kindergartens in deficient pre-schoolers’ homes. The Law on Education provisions for kindergarten activity carried by age groups according to children’s psycho-motor development: little group (3-4 years), intermediate group (4-5 years), big group (5-6 years), and the preparatory group (6-7 years). The number of children per group should be maximum 20; the minimum number is 10. In rural areas, with a reduced number of children or rather isolated communities, children aged 3-7 are combined in one or two groups. Article 18 in the Law on Education, kindergartens are established by school inspectorates. Kindergartens may also be founded by economic agents, legal institutions, and other stakeholders and need to be approved by concerned school inspectorates. The private kindergarten network emerged in parallel with the public network. The first private kindergartens were established in the 1991/92 school year. Educators and teachers employed by pre-school and school education are graduates of the pedagogical high-schools, colleges, or a higher-education institution, and of a training course in psycho-pedagogy. Other Institutions and Organizations Developing Child Protection and Education Programmes In addition to formal institutions designed for child protection and education, in Romania also exist alternative institutions and organisations developing educational programmes and grant children protection and humanitarian aid. Their target population is institutionalised children, special needs children, children of the street, children and families in difficulty. Through its representative office in Bucharest, UNICEF develops its programmes designed for the support of children and families in vulnerable situations. UNICEF develops its activity in co-operation with the Government of Romania, local authorities, non-governmental organisations, organisations of the civic society. For the period of 1995-2000, UNICEF and the Government of Romania have concluded a national co-operation programme that contains the projects listed below:
    • "Child and Woman Health Care" pursues a series of objectives: support of medical services granted to young mothers, consolidation of a national network for the dissemination of information on health care and sanitary information for all, the support of the national campaign on child immunisation, promotion of a national strategy against HIV/AIDS infection; "Family Education" has as its objectives community development and the development of parental resource centres; "Children in Highly Difficult Situations" pursues the following objectives: services for families in risk situations, support for the integration in normal schools of the children with special needs, promotion of family-type alternatives, support of activities for street-children protection "Planning and Development of Social Policies": support of the reform of the child protection system initiated by the Department for child Protection, in terms of legislation and administration. The "Save the Children" organisation, through its branches all over the country, develops programmes in various fields: identification of family-type alternatives in child institutionalisation; organisation of programmes addressed to children of the street; development of educational strategies for institutionalised children or for children from families with social problems; medical care granted to sick children and who require long-term and expensive care. Other Non-governmental Organisations develop programmes designed for categories of risk-situation children: Deserted children. The programmes pursue the development of alternatives of family-type in child protection and care. Among such organisations are the "SOS Children" Association - Arad, "SOS Children’s Villages-Romania" – Bucharest, "For Our Children" - Bucharest, "Ion Creanga Children’s Home" - Piatra Neamt. Children of the street. The objectives of these programmes concern children reintegration in their families or in protection institutions, and medical, psychological, educational and social assistance. The main organisations implementing such programmes are "Save the Children", Association "Open House", ASSIS, "Terre des Hommes", "Foundation for Child Protection".
    • HIV/AIDS – infested children. The alarming high number of HIV/AIDS – contaminated children led to the emergence of a number of organisations that act for the protection, medical care, and education of this category of children. The organisations also develop information and education programmes for the population on the medical and social implications of the disease: UNICEF, "International Children Care", "Save the Children", "Health AID Romania", "Angel Appeal", "The Romanian Association against AIDS", etc. Children with special needs. Non-governmental organisations, such the "House of Hope" Foundation in Jassy; "Saint Mary" Association, in Cluj-Napoca; "Must" Organisation in Bucharest; "Hope" Romanian Society in Timisoara are implementing programmes on medical assistance, social integration, education, while also providing material support for children with special needs and their families. The macro-programme "Romania Educational", co-ordinated by the Alliance for Romania’s Rebirth through Education, designed 60 modules targeted at formal education programmes and programmes for the care and protection of small- aged children. Among the programmes designed for children in difficult situations, the "Educational Advantage" programme addresses institutionalised children and those found in disfavoured areas and communities (educationally and socio-culturally handicapped). Other Institutions and Organisations Developing Child Protection and Education Programmes In addition to formal institutions designed for child protection and education, in Romania also exist alternative institutions and organisations developing educational programmes and grant children protection and humanitarian aid. Their target population is institutionalised children, special needs children, children of the street, children and families in difficulty. Through its representative office in Bucharest, UNICEF develops its programmes designed for the support of children and families in vulnerable situations. UNICEF develops its activity in co-operation with the Government of Romania, local authorities, non-governmental organisations, organisations of the civic society. For the period of 1995-2000, UNICEF and the Government of Romania have concluded a national co-operation programme that contains the projects listed below: "Child and Woman Health Care" pursues a series of objectives: support of medical services granted to young mothers, consolidation of a national network for the dissemination of information on health care and sanitary information for all, the support of the national campaign on child immunisation, promotion of a national strategy against HIV/AIDS infection;
    • "Family Education" has as its objectives community development and the development of parental resource centres; "Children in Highly Difficult Situations" pursues the following objectives: services for families in risk situations, support for the integration in normal schools of the children with special needs, promotion of family-type alternatives, support of activities for street-children protection "Planning and Development of Social Policies": support of the reform of the child protection system initiated by the Department for child Protection, in terms of legislation and administration. The "Save the Children" organisation, through its branches all over the country, develops programmes in various fields: identification of family-type alternatives in child institutionalisation; organisation of programmes addressed to children of the street; development of educational strategies for institutionalised children or for children from families with social problems; medical care granted to sick children and who require long-term and expensive care. Other Non-governmental Organisations develop programmes designed for categories of risk-situation children: Deserted children. The programmes pursue the development of alternatives of family-type in child protection and care. Among such organisations are the "SOS Children" Association - Arad, "SOS Children’s Villages-Romania" – Bucharest, "For Our Children" - Bucharest, "Ion Creanga Children’s Home" - Piatra Neamt. Children of the street. The objectives of these programmes concern children reintegration in their families or in protection institutions, and medical, psychological, educational and social assistance. The main organisations implementing such programmes are "Save the Children", Association "Open House", ASSIS, "Terre des Hommes", "Foundation for Child Protection". HIV/AIDS – infested children. The alarming high number of HIV/AIDS – contaminated children led to the emergence of a number of organisations that act for the protection, medical care, and education of this category of children. The organisations also develop information and education programmes for the population on the medical and social implications of the disease: UNICEF, "International Children Care", "Save the Children", "Health AID Romania", "Angel Appeal", "The Romanian Association against AIDS", etc.
    • Children with special needs. Non-governmental organisations, such the "House of Hope" Foundation in Jassy; "Saint Mary" Association, in Cluj-Napoca; "Must" Organisation in Bucharest; "Hope" Romanian Society in Timisoara are implementing programmes on medical assistance, social integration, education, while also providing material support for children with special needs and their families. The macro-programme "Romania Educational", co-ordinated by the Alliance for Romania’s Rebirth through Education, designed 60 modules targeted at formal education programmes and programmes for the care and protection of small- aged children. Among the programmes designed for children in difficult situations, the "Educational Advantage" programme addresses institutionalised children and those found in disfavoured areas and communities (educationally and socio-culturally handicapped).