Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild’s Secretary General shared lessons from the Opening Doors campaign on how the implementation of European policies and funding has supported reforms in child protection. Through a video, she addressed the Conference on the Priorities of the EU Funding for Romania for 2021 – 2027 held in Bucharest, Romania on 14 March 2019.
“EU money has played a big role in transforming child protection systems – in particular in countries which historically relied heavily on big institutional settings to take care of children in the care of the state. There is no doubt that EU money has been a major catalyst for change across this part of Europe. Hundreds of millions of Euros have been spent on deinstitutionalisation reforms.”
“Every year we publish updated fact sheets on the situation of children in alternative care. It is clear that the number of children growing up in large-scale institutional settings has dramatically decreased – thanks in part to EU funding. If we look at the situation in Bulgaria. More than €160 million spent on deinstitutionalisation reforms. 80% drop in children growing up in institutions, increasing numbers of children in foster care & fewer children admitted into institutional care.
Or Latvia – the data for 2018 shows for the first time the number of children in foster care exceeding the number of children in institutional care.
The commitment of the Romanian government to use €100M EU funding to close 50 old-style institutions is also to be commended.”
She also reminded the conference participants of our collective ambitions: “Spending money to close down large-scale institutions & move children into smaller setting – even if they aim to be family-like – must NOT be our ambition. We must aim for a full root & branch transformation… to prevent children from entering the public care system in the first place….”
The joint conference aimed to identify the programming priorities for Romania in the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 in the area of child protection. It was co-organised by Hope and Homes for Children, together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice, through the National Authority for the Protection of Children’s Rights and Adoption, and the Eurochild member Federatia Organizatillor Neguvernamentale Pentru Copii (FONPC).
Opening Doors is Europe-wide campaign established by Eurochild together with Hope and Homes for Children in 2013 and focuses on ending institutional care for children across Europe.
For latest updates about the progress with children’s transition from institutional to family- and community-based care see 16 country fact sheets here.