The Terre des hommes Romania organized round table, Inter-Institutional Collaboration Practices for Assisting Vulnerable Minors, gathered social-work and child-protection professionals from NGOs and public institutions to identify functional models of inter-institutional cooperation. The event was organized via a Childhub project in Romania.
Representatives of the General Directorate of Social Assistance and Child Protection Sector 6 (DGASPC 6), alongside Executive Director Mr. Nicolae Gorunescu, and representatives of the Supporting Social Integration Association (ASIS), presented their successful collaboration model: #NoAbuse – Prevention of child maltreatment project in families, institutions and schools. The project consists of awareness-raising, educational, and informative activities about the consequences of long-term maltreatment on children within a family, school and in institutions. With great results and collaboration, the partners organized two types of monthly meetings:
- Parents café: a support and parental development initiative that pairs social interaction with learning for parents.
- Professionals café: DGASPC 6 and ASIS personnel share their experiences and good practices to strengthen their ability to recognize and prevent the abuse of children in assisted families, to decide common tactics for assisting cases, and, of course, for networking and creating leisure time for employees.
In the second part of the event, Simina Guga, a representative of Save the Children Romania, presented the areas that need improvement within inter-institutional collaboration and problems facing professionals specifically when assisting unaccompanied migrant minors in Romania. These included:
- Lack of adjusted laws regarding children’s rights and asylum;
- The majority of minors in the asylum procedure don’t know their legal guardian or have never talked with the legal guardian before coming to court;
- A different understanding of the actors involved – public institutions and NGOs – and the role and level of involvement of the legal guardian.
A debate on these topics involved all of the round-table participants– social workers, counsellors, psychologists, representatives of the General Inspectorate for Immigration (IGI), and Ms. Adina Codreș, representative of the National Authority of the Protection of the Rights of the Child and Adoption (ANPDCA). Several conclusions were reached in the group debate on how to strengthen the relationship between NGOs that work with unaccompanied migrant minors and public institutions of social assistance, including the need to:
- Harmonize the laws on children’s rights, asylum, and procedures regarding the rights of unaccompanied migrant minors;
- Promote Law no. 122 of Asylum to all institutions and employees working with children;
- Write an official memorandum with all problematic aspects and proposals to change and harmonize the laws sent to ANPDCA;
- Build a stronger and perseverable communication strategy between NGOs and public institutions.