Articol "Professional inclusion of people with disabilities in romania"

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Articol aparut in "Ghidul pentru parinti" unul din produsele finale ale proiectului LdV "Worksen", proiect derulat prin "Programul invatare pe tot parcursul vietii" si ANPCDEFP - Romania, cu sprijinul Cumunitatii Europene.

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Articol "Professional inclusion of people with disabilities in romania"

  1. 1. PROFESSIONAL INCLUSION OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN ROMANIA Assistant Professor Ruxandra Foloştină University of Bucharest Teacher Carmen Marilena Şerbănescu Special School no. 7, Bucharest, Romania I. The legal and institutional frame One of the concerns of Romanian society regarding people with mental retardation is represented by their total integration, the most emphasized aspect being the educational one. In addition there is a little concern for adults having a mental disability and their professional inclusion as a main aspect of their life quality. Although in Romania, in the last two decades, there have been made important steps for the normalization of life of disabled people (especially by politics for promoting social protection and professional inclusion), they continue to encounter significant barriers in their social inclusion. Professional inclusion is a prerequisite in achieving social inclusion for the disabled people, promoting equal opportunities and fully participation in the community life and thus their independence. Unfortunately, the aspect of professional inclusion is in the most cases the hardest to achieve, depending on various factors related to the person itself but especially factors related to society and its mentalities (the actual socio- economical conditions of our country, legislation, social attitudes etc.). In the present paper, we propose to analyze the actual situation of labor force participation in the case of people with disabilities (including those with mental retardation), to analyze the legal frame regarding labor market participation of people with disabilities, professional training and career guidance, to analyze some aspects regarding professional education of teenagers / youth with disabilities. 1
  2. 2. In the educational system, the most important changes in the last years are related to: a) integration of children with disabilities in mainstream school with differentiated / individualized / personalized support provided by a support teacher and by educational and social services; b) integration in the special needs educational system of children with severe disabilities; their educational activities being based on individual educational plan; c) starting training various categories of teachers in inclusive education; d) orientation of the teaching-learning-assessment process to updating and developing the full potential of each child; e) increasing the number of students with disabilities integrated into secondary education, post-secondary and higher education; f) rising the number of preschool children with disabilities integrated in kindergartens and in day care centres; g) starting guiding the education system to personal development and to social inclusion of each child; to define and ensure a future for each graduated student in terms of personal, professional and social inclusion. The current movement in supporting school integration of children with disabilities based on a positive approach model and inclusion strategies is an important paradigm shift, with special implications in terms of eradication of social exclusion and strengthening the independence of the disabled person. Currently in Romania there are laws in accordance with the inalienable and non- negotiable human rights, enshrined in the Constitution of Romania, in the Convention of Human Rights, the EU acquis. The most important Romanian laws regarding vocational training and career guidance of children and youth with disabilities are: - National Education Law – Law No.1 / 2011, published in the Official Gazette no. 18 on 10 of January 2011; 2
  3. 3. - Law no. 292 / 2011 – law on social assistance; - Law no. 151 / 2010 deals with autism and specialized social services on health and education for people with autistic disorders and associated mental health disorders; - Law no. 272 / 2004 regarding protection and promotion of child’s rights; - Law no. 448 / 2006 (republished in 2008) regarding the protection and promotion of the rights of the disabled people, published in the Official Gazette, Part I no. 1006 of 18/12/2006; - Law no. 76 / 2002 - (updated in 2004) regarding the unemployment insurance system and issues concerning stimulating employment of the disabled people; - Law no.116 / 2002 on preventing and combating social exclusion; - Law no. 487 / 2002 – the mental health law and the protection of people with mental disorders. All these policies comply with international principles and values of human rights to which Romania adhered: - Equalization of Opportunities for disabled people; - Citizenship rights of the disabled people; - School, professional and social inclusion ; - Empowering the disabled people and their NGOs; - Positive approach, policies and strategies based on the recognition of the abilities and skills of children and adults with special needs; - Non-discrimination principles; - Normalization of life for people with disabilities. In Romania there are several types of institutions dealing with training and career guidance of students and youth with disabilities according to their special needs and to the requirements of the labour market: a. Educational institutions, coordinated by The Ministry of Education: - special education units: special schools and special vocational schools (usually - arts and crafts); 3
  4. 4. - inclusive schools for preschool and school level in which students / children with special needs receive educational support services provided by a support teacher; - “home school” for students who do not have the physical possibilities to go to the nearest school ; - Education to the “Hospital Bed”, education during hospitalization; - Alternative Education provided by NGOs (e.g. after school, rehabilitation centres). b. Institutions involved in social protection, career guidance and labour mediation: - Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection – General Directorate for the Protection of People with Disabilities; - National Authority for child Protection (ANPDC); - National Agency for Employment ( ANOFM ). The main institutions involved in social protection, career guidance and labour mediation of the disabled people are: a. National Agency for Employment (ANOFM) with its local subordinate agencies – County Agencies for Employment and Work (AJOFM) and Employment and Work Agency of Bucharest (AMOFM). These are legal institutions and public services aimed to increase the employability of people in searching of a work, including career guidance and labour mediation of people with disabilities. The main tasks of these institutions are: - information and career counseling; - mediation of the work – activity that is done to put in touch employers with people looking for a job, to establish a relationship between employee and employers; - professional training; 4
  5. 5. - organization and provision (free or by paying a fee) of training services for the unemployed people and other categories of beneficiaries as prescribed by the law; - advice and assistance for starting a self-employment activity or a business; - supporting employment of people belonging to vulnerable groups. b. Departments of Social Assistance and Child Protection, under the authority of which operates the following committees: The Committee for Child Protection, The Evaluation Committee of adults with disabilities and The Public Services for assessment. The two committees diagnose the degree and the type of disability of the children / adults with handicap. c. Training Providers are legal entities (public or private) that can provide training services according to international quality standards and legislation. The training providers are : - Regional Centers for Adult Training (CRFPA), subordinated to ANOFM, with headquarters in several cities of the country; - Centers for reorientation and reintegration for the unemployed in each County, subordinated to AJOFM ; - Other training providers authorized in the public and private area – different businesses, enterprises and institutions, LLC and SA with a specific activity ; - NGOs, including those of people with disabilities. Social care is separated from health care in Romania. The Ministry of Health is responsible for regulating and implementing health policies. Psychiatric facilities are under this ministry, but not facilities for persons with intellectual disabilities. Hence, the Ministry of Health is responsible for the assistance provided in centers for persons with mental health problems but not for persons with intellectual disabilities. All social care is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection and local authorities. Thus, this is where protection and services for persons with disabilities lies. This division of responsibilities is however not always clear in practice since there are many institutions with a mix of persons with mental health problems and intellectual disabilities. 5
  6. 6. II. The situation of labour force participation in the case of people with disabilities Subordinated to the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection is the General Directorate for the Protection of the People with Disabilities (GDPPD). It is the specialised body of the central public administration which coordinates activities related to the special protection and promoting of the rights of people with disabilities. GDPPD develops policies, strategies and standards, monitors enforcement of regulations and controls the special protection activities for people with disabilities. It has the coordinating role. To actually provide the services is the responsibility of the local authorities. However, GDPPD sometimes finance parts of projects. GDPPD is only responsible for adults. Protection and services for children are under the National Authority for Child Protection and Adoption (ANPCA), which is also subordinated to the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection. To actually provide the social care is the responsibility of the local authorities; the local councils on municipality level and in Bucharest sector level. Each local council has a General Department of Social Assistance and Child Protection (GD). This department is responsible for all types of social assistance and it is their responsibility to provide the services which the law obliges. It is not responsible for any kind of education, this lies under the Ministry of Education. Disabilities in Romania are classified in ten different types; physic, somatic, auditory, visual, mental, psychic, associated, HIV/Aids, rare diseases and deaf- blind. Thus, the term “mental disability” is used for what in many other countries is referred to as “intellectual disability”. The term “associated disability” is used for persons with two or more disabilities. It can be any combination of disabilities which means that some persons with intellectual disabilities are also in this category. Disability levels are classified according to IQ levels in line with International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) elaborated by the World Health Organisation (WHO). There is another classification elaborated by WHO 6
  7. 7. which complements ICD-10 and also takes contextual factors into account, but this is not used in Romania. The levels mild, moderate, severe and profound are used. The term “severe” is however often used as including also persons with profound disabilities. This is the case in the law 448/2006 for example. According to the General Directorate for the Protection of the People with Disabilities of the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection (GDPPD, M.L.F.S.P., 2011) the total number of disabled people on March 31, 2011 was 691.482 (approx. 4 % out of the general population of Romania), while in the European Union the percent is being considered around 10%. This situation can be explained due to the different norms applied for establishing the degree of handicap in Romania, mainly based on medical criteria. Out of the total number of disabled people in Romania, 674.431 (97,5%) live in family care and / or live independently (non-institutionalized) and 17.051 (2,5 %) live in residential institutions of social assistance for adults with disabilities coordinated by the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection through the General Directorate for the Protection of the People with Disabilities. Graphic 1. The number of people with disabilities in March 31, 2011 (The number of people with disabilities according to M.L.F.S.P – GDPPD, 2011) According to the same source, on 31 of March 2011, they were 26.530 employed people with disabilities. 7 TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSONS 691482 NON-INSTITUTIONALISED 674431 INSTITUTIONALISED1 17051
  8. 8. The situation of employment for people having a disability, depending on the type of disability, out of the total number of the employed ones (26.530), will be also presented in Table 1. Tabel 1. The percentages depending on the type of handicap, out of the total number of the employed adults with disabilities and the percentages of the employed, out of the total employed adults with disabilities Type of disability The percent out of the total adults with disabilities The percent out of the total employed adults with disabilities physical 19,34% 22,62% somatic 20,51% 37,66% hearing 3,56% 12,56% vision 20,07% 12,21% mental 16,43% 3,52% psychic 12,95% 5,65% associate 5,42% 3,16% HIV / AIDS 0,84% 0,6% rare disease 0,81% 1,7% deaf-blind 0,08% 0,33% Out of the total number of adults, the highest percent is for the ones having a somatic disability, followed by the ones with visual, physical, mental and psychic deficiency. The lowest incidence was recorded in the case of people having deaf- blindness, followed by the ones with rare diseases, HIV / AIDS, hearing impairment and associate disorders. We can notice that the best situation of employment, out of the total employed, is in the case of somatic deficiency, followed by the ones with physical, hearing and visual deficiency. As we can notice the access to employment for persons with disabilities is very limited. Assisted employment, which has proven successful in many other countries for persons with disabilities, is a new thing for Romania. There are a few places in the public sector being offered, but they are very few. For a person with a disability who just graduated, there is a benefit that a company can get during the first period of an employment. There is then an obligation to keep the person for one or two years. Working places which have more than 30% of the employees with a disability are eligible for tax reductions. 8
  9. 9. There is a law which says that in every working place with more than 30 employees there has to be at least 4% with a disability. If they do not have this they have to pay half of the minimum salaries of this number of persons as a fine. Instead of employing 4%, a working place can buy things produced by persons with disabilities for the equal amount as the fine. The commissions which evaluate disabilities also evaluate the capacity to work. The law 448/2006 gives the right to keep parts of the benefits also if receiving a salary. But many persons with disabilities do not know about this right. III. The legal frame regarding career guidance, professional training ad labour market participation of people with disabilities Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection has developed the National Strategy on the social protection, integration and inclusion of people with disabilities in the period 2006-2013. It has the subheading Equal opportunities for people with disabilities - towards a non-discriminatory society. The goal of the strategy is to ensure the full exertion by all people with disabilities of their rights and fundamental liberties, with a view to enhancing the quality of life. The National strategy includes an action plan with most goals set to 2013. The mission is: By 2013, people with disabilities shall benefit from real rights and opportunities, with a view of enhancing the quality of personal life. The strategy proposes as ways to increase employment among people with disabilities the following lines of action:  Provision of training school for the disabled person, regardless of where he is, including assistant teachers;  Increasing the importance of the assessment of the skills and, especially, of the social skills training;  Implementation, diversification and financial support programs for career guidance of people with disabilities; 9
  10. 10.  Providing training for occupations needed in the field of disability and introduction of new occupations in The Classification of Occupations in Romania.  Granting facilities to the employers in the professional inclusion process of people with disabilities is necessary;  Better access to work, education, culture, entertainment and public transport is extremely important for the disabled people to assert in the life of the community;  Involvement in decision making of people with disabilities in such manner that the motto “Nothing about us without us” be observed. The strategy emphasizes the necessity of an integrated view over handicap, so that the needs of the person with disabilities to be followed properly in all the policies and national development programs, especially in those related to: housing and transport, adequate access to physical environment and information, education, career orientation, employment, access to culture, tourism and free time. Particularly important in terms of career guidance and employment of people with disabilities, this strategy is based on the following fundamental principles: - respecting the rights and the dignity of people with disabilities based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; - preventing and combating discrimination; - equal opportunities for disabled people; - equal treatment – absence of any direct or indirect discrimination based on religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation, employment, as set out in European Council Directive 2000/78/CE of 27 November 2000; - community empowerment – community is responsible for promoting the rights of the disabled people and for creating, developing and diversification of the support services necessary to ensure a good quality of life; 10
  11. 11. - “adapting” society to the needs of the disabled people by implementation of the appropriate measures so that the disabled person to assume the obligations of citizenship; - Integrated approach so that protection, integration and social inclusion of people with disabilities to be included in all national policies: social, educational, employment, free time, access to information. Regarding the terminology used, The strategy specifies that in using terms or in the process of introducing or defining new terms, it will follow elimination of the discriminatory tendencies and the risk of stigmatization by inducing negative connotations. It is preferable to avoid using terms as uneducated, unrecoverable or unable to work in all administrative, legal and official documents. In December 2006 the new Law on the protection and fostering of the disabled people’s rights, number 448/2006 was approved. This law is based on the national strategy and is responding to the principles established there. It has also led to new secondary laws and in practice all the laws for adults with disabilities were changed. Law 448/2006 stipulates the rights for persons with disabilities in a wide range of areas such as housing, healthcare, education, employment and social benefits. Below are some examples of what the law stipulates: Social services for people with disabilities shall be developed and adjusted according to each person’s individual need. People with disabilities shall have free and equal access to all forms of education, regardless of their age, in accordance with the type and degree of the disability, and their educational needs. Any disabled person who wants to become employed or re-employed shall have the access to vocational assessment and guidance, regardless of his/her age and regardless of the type and degree of the disability. Disabled persons shall have the right to work and make revenues in accordance with the labor legislation and the special provisions of this law. 11
  12. 12. Romania developed minimum standards for social services for persons with disabilities which have to be followed. There are set of standards for residential services, sheltered living (an independent living with minimum support), day centers, respite centers, community services at home and personal assistance. They are very detailed, for residential services there are thirty standards, each with several subheadings. Examples of standards for residential services are maximum three persons per bedroom, individual plans and programs have to exist and there has to be access to several specialists such as a doctor, psychologist, physiotherapist and nurse. The specializations offered by the special vocational schools of arts and crafts for youth with mental retardation are: Tabel 2. Specializations and qualifications of special vocational schools for youth with mental retardation in Romania Nr. crt. Specialization Qualification 1. Construction Construction worker: painter, paper hanger 2. Mechanical Worker locksmith 3. Manufacture of wood products Carpentry worker 4. Food industry Food worker, Worker in milling and baking 5. Construction Worker in knitwear and garments 6. Garments Worker in milling and baking 7. Tourism Hotel worker Most graduates have found jobs in the professions that they have been qualified, which means that the special vocational schools adapt their curricula according to the labour market requirements. 12
  13. 13. Inclusive employment is probably the most challenging process. There are still many barriers: the lack of environmental accessibility and communication, the lack of national policies in favor of inclusive employment, prejudices of employers, a lack of inclusive education in the past, a lack of social skills of people with mental disabilities. Stigma and prejudice are still widespread in Romania, so the attitudes of the co-workers can be hostile and show a lack of respect and sensitivity towards people with mental disabilities. References: ANPH - www.anph.ro Cretu, V. (2009) – Training students and young people with disabilities in relation to their support needs and labor market requirements. Institutions, successful examples, proposals, Editura Universitara, Bucuresti; National Authority for People with Disabilities: National strategy on social protection, integration and social inclusion of disabled people – equal opportunities for persons with disabilities: towards a non-discriminatory society 2006 – 2013. 13

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