The intervention of the multidisciplinary team in assisting a case of child neglect (Moldova: case discussion in Romanian)

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The case brought to your attention was identified by chance in mid-2008, by a district child protection specialist that was conducting a monitoring visit regarding other cases from the same community. This case continues to be under close supervision of professionals.

At the time the case was referred, it concerned a complete family: the mother, father and four children. The results of the initial evaluation conveyed the facts that parents abuse alcohol and neglect their parental duties, so the children were in a poor hygienic state, they were hungry and living in unsanitary conditions. Firstly, professionals at the community and district level made efforts to improve the family situation, conducting a series of discussions with the parents and the extended family. The case was also discussed repeatedly during the multidisciplinary team meetings, following which there were established concrete actions to apply in order to overcome this situation of great concern. However, no important changes were achieved and it was decided to move the four children in a placement center. During the placement period the children received visits from their parents and grandmother. The efforts to improve their situation and to reintegrate them within their family, including the extended family, continued, but without any great success.

In mid-2010 the court decided to terminate the parents’ rights to raise their children.

In the midst of these vents, a relatively short life became a long story for the four sisters who have passed through various social services in the district. There have been made several attempts to transfer them to other alternative forms of protection, but each and every time the final results were not the ones expected.

By the end of 2013, all four sisters were staying together at a temporary placement center, and early 2014 a family was willing to take the sisters in, therefore the guardianship of the girls was established. But one of the sisters, Maria[1], is in a wheelchair since early childhood and has special care needs. The new family did not possess the right skills and necessary conditions to care for Maria and therefore there was made the decision to separate the sisters in order to better meet the needs of Maria. After the placement of the other three girls was finalized, the maternal grandmother of the girls expressed her desire to take care of Maria and, at her insistence and the child’s longing, she was ultimately reintegrated into her grandparent’s family. But starting with the first monitoring activities of the situation, performed by the social assistance team and several specialized local authorities, it was identified that Mary was neglected and her hygienic-sanitary condition was poor.

In mid-2015, under urgent conditions, Maria was taken out from her grandmother’s place and placed in a special center, where she is until today.

The other three sisters continue to live in the new family and Maria’s case is under permanent supervision of the multidisciplinary team, which is trying to improve her situation. Maria is now in fourth grade, being educated in accordance with the provisions provided by the Individual Education Plan. Also, the specialists involved in the case have identified an opportunity to improve her health state. Thanks to the collaboration of the Center of Family Doctors, the Department of Social Assistance and Family Protection, the local authorities and some private sponsors, at the end of 2015, Maria underwent her first surgical intervention at a private clinic in Chisinau, with the participation of very good specialists from abroad.

Maria, now 13 years old, is currently benefiting from rehabilitation procedures within the placement center, which unfortunately is short on specialists and necessary equipment that could easily be provided by the clinic where she was operated. Thanks to collected donations, recently were purchased some items needed for better rehabilitation (such as: orthopedic corsets, orthopedic shoes, SWORD device). Subsequent work is undertaken to improve the quality of life of the girl.

During the case discussion we will analyze in more detail the intervention of the multidisciplinary team, the learned lessons from the case and the good practices. We will also seek suggestions from participants on methods of collecting funds for the treatment, including other possible needed surgeries, and actions in order to reintegrate Maria into the family which is raising her three sisters.

[1] Name changed.

The case discussion will take place on March 24, 2016, at 11:00 am, local time (in Moldova).

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Expert online: 
Date and time for case discussion: 
24 Mar 2016 - 11:00am
Learning points: 

Recommendations on the case discussed:

  • To consult children on all actions that concern them (the individual care plan);
  • To identify a long-term family-type form of protection for all the minor sisters, also by consulting them;
  • To prepare the new family to provide proper care for the little girl with special needs;
  • To maintain the relationship between children with their biological families (parents, grandparents, and aunts), informing parents of their right to visit the children and the right to regain the parent status;
  • To collect financial resources in order to ensure the long-term recovery treatment and other surgeries;
  • To carry out activities for school and social inclusion of Maria and her sisters;
  • To help Maria develop independent life skills.

General recommendations:

  • Ensuring the early identification of cases at community level, also through awareness raising activities that would promote the condemnation and referral of child violence and neglect case;
  • Carrying out activities to prevent child abuse, neglect and labour;
  • Making the right decisions at the right time with respect to the child’s status;
  • Avoiding long-term placements in placement centres;
  • Preventing separation of children;
  • Increased focus on universal services to prevent risk situations for children;
  • Developing community services to prevent their displacement from the community;
  • Promoting family-type placement services, including for children with disabilities;
  • Ensuring access to social, educational, medical etc. services for all children, including those with special educational needs;
  • Strengthening the professional skills / continuous training of multidisciplinary team members;
  • Including parents in programmes of strengthening parenting skills;
  • Planning of financial resources to ensure surgeries/rehabilitation services abroad;
  • Media coverage and raising public awareness with regard to social inclusion.
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