Let's Unite for Children!
Around the world, millions of children are subject to violence, exploitation and abuse. It is happening right now, while you are reading this article. Children are being sent out to work, trafficked, exposed to armed conflict, mutilated due to community traditions or sexually abused. Children are being denied their right to grow and develop in a safe environment. And without action, the same fate awaits millions more.
Unless children are safe from violence, exploitation and abuse, all the work being done to improve their health and education becomes redundant. Child protection – which means preventing and responding to the things that endanger children and ensuring that they grow up in a safe environment – is therefore the front line of UNICEF’s fight to improve children’s lives.
Violence, exploitation and abuse affect children in every country in the world. In Romania, more than 100,000 children were in preventive or protective measures at last count, many of whom have special needs. Hundreds of thousands of children in the country– about half of whom are under ten years old – have one or both parents living abroad, leaving them vulnerable to various threats.
As the effects of the economic crisis continue to batter Romania, more children face the prospect of living in poverty. Pockets of entrenched privation persist, particularly in rural areas and among Roma communities. These communities still see cases of early marriage. Child abandonment remains a problem which still needs much attention.
UNICEF is working with the government and NGOs to boost child protection, but much remains to be done. Romanian social workers are relatively few in number, usually overworked, poorly paid and often lack the appropriate training. Budgets for child protection are tight. This issue of the newsletter takes a close look at the state of child protection in Romania and argues the case for a more preventive approach to ensuring that children enjoy their right to a childhood safe from harm.