Social Policy and Poverty
|Article 26 and 27 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child acknowledges the child’s right ‘to benefit from social security, including social insurance,’ and ‘the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development’.|
General statistics about Moldova paint a somewhat encouraging picture, with a modestly growing economy and poverty in slow but steady decline. These benefits though do not reach all, and children are often last in line. Overall, about one quarter of Moldovans live in poverty; but this rate rises quickly for children in rural areas, from large families, or living in
Half of Moldovan children are raised on less than 2.5 dollars per day.
Daily features of a child’s life are an interesting mix of old and new: cell phones are common everywhere, and one in three in people use the internet. Meanwhile, only five percent of rural families with children have inside toilets, and even running water is a rarity, enjoyed by less than one in four such families.
Differences between village and city life are especially apparent in the winter, when unpaved roads turn to mud or ice, and poor indoor heating as well outdoor sanitary facilities create additional hardship.
What are the key issues making children vulnerable: situation and trends?
- The absolute and extreme poverty rates considerably decreased. Nonetheless, the absolute poverty is still affecting 22% of the country population and 24% of children.
- The impact of the economic crisis was very accentuated in the rural areas. As result, in the period 2008-2009, the absolute poverty increased in these areas, and the urban-rural gap considerably deepened. However, in 2010, the poverty declined in both areas of residence, and the urban-rural gap started to diminish.
- Households with children have been more vulnerable to the effects of the crisis than households without children.
- In the Republic of Moldova, the children’s risk of poverty has remained higher than that of the overall population. One in every four children was experiencing absolute poverty in 2010.
- Besides the urban-rural gap, wide discrepancies exist between larger cities and small towns as well as between large, central and developed villages close to city and small, peripheral, remote, and aged villages. Incidence of absolute poverty among children has remained three times larger in villages compared with cities and towns.
- The groups highly exposed to the risk of poverty include children from rural areas, especially from households of farmers, those who belong to households with many children, and those living in multigenerational extended families. Few other categories of children should be mentioned, although their situation is not well documented: children with disabilities, Roma children, graduates of residential institutions, young released from prison, and ‘street children’.
- Overall, the social protection system has offered support to the poorer households with children, although some benefits had a deficit of targeting. Child allowances and social aid have had a smaller but positive impact, while nominative compensations have been less efficient in protecting children against poverty.
- The current reform of the social protection system places the means-tested social aid at the core of the system. In relation to the social aid, several categories of children have limited access: children with both parents employed in agriculture, children from young families that live together with one of the parents’ family, children from households with many children who represent certain religious groups, children left behind by migrant parents in households in poverty, Roma children, and children with severe disabilities who live in households.
- The groups of children exposed to multiple risks of social exclusion include the graduates of residential institutions, especially those that broke relations with their family, young released from prison, and ‘street children’.
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