Desiree Jongsma, UNICEF Representative in Moldova (second person on the left), Stela Grigoras, Minister of Health, Labor and Social Protection (center), and Liliana Rotaru, President of CCF/HHC Moldova (second on the right) at the launch of the campaign on prevention of abandonment of children
Chisinau, 5 October 2017 - CCF Moldova – Child, Community, Family, in partnership with The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection launches today 3 social advertisements to prevent the abandonment of younger children (aged under three).
The social advertisements offer parents who find themselves facing financial or health difficulties, specific solutions that will enable them to avoid the last resort of institutionalization and keep the family together. Enabling parents to keep the child is a priority as residential institutions are known to negatively affect the healthy development of children, with deeper and long-lasting negative effects when the child is institutionalized before the age of three.
All children have the right to grow up in a loving and caring family environment, according to the Child Rights Convention. Although we cannot quantify the vast trauma that family separation means for the child, we now know, due to extensive studies, that three months spent in a residential institution equal to one month in developmental delay, said Desiree Jongsma, UNICEF Representative in Moldova.
Based on canvassed needs of parents, the social advertisements present, in engaging animations, three scenarios: single mothers that do not have the support of the parents, pregnant adolescent girls discriminated against by their family and community, and parents who have had a child with special needs. In all three instances the advertisements encourage parents not to give in to despair, but to reach out for help to the service providers available in their community or at a regional center. The town mayors, the social assistants and specialized services such as Maternity Centers, „Respiro” health service as well as state financial assistance for vulnerable families are the key services available to struggling families.
Through these social advertisements we want to tell parents who are dealing with the decision of keeping their child that there are solutions to their problems, that residential institutions are not the only alternative for parents with low incomes or parents who need assistance in raising a child with special needs, said Stela Grigoras, Minister of Health, Labor and Social Protection.
The abandonment of the child, in many cases, is on its way before her birth, through the isolation of and discrimination against the mother. Our social spots aim to give specific advice to mothers and communities, information about the specialists who can and will help the family as well as services that any mother can access in order to keep her child. However, despite recent progress, every year in Moldova 80 to 100 children aged under three are separated from their families, added Liliana Rotaru, President of CCF/HHC Moldova.
The social advertisements will be distributed for one month by main national and regional TV channels, as well as on civil society social media platforms. The communication campaign is part of the project „Children aged under three – understanding needs, developing services, reforming the system” implemented by CCF/HHC Moldova, in partnership with UNICEF and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection.
The project, amounting to 425,800 Euro, aims to provide support to vulnerable families with children aged under three to prevent their separation and placement of children in residential institutions. It is part of the state-wide initiative of reducing the number of institutionalized children as well as increasing the number of children reunited with their families. Since the beginning of the reform of the residential child protection system in Moldova, the number of children in institutions has decreased from 11,500 (2007) to less than 2,000 (2016). However, deinstitutionalization is more difficult for the youngest (aged under three) and children with disabilities, with further joint efforts needed to continue implementing reforms.
For details, please contact:
Lina Botnaru, Communication and Advocacy Coordinator
Cristina Stratulat, Press Officer,
Ministry of Health, labor and Social Protection
Angela Munteanu, Communication Officer