"Better Social Services and Child Protection for Every Child"

A joint commitment of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection and UNICEF

05 December 2023
Servicii mai bune de asistență socială și protecție pentru copii
UNICEF/2023/Moldova/Sava

Chisinau, 5 December 2023: More than 175 thousand children in the Republic of Moldova have benefited from better social assistance and child protection services in 2022-2023. The results of the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on the protection of children's rights, signed between the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and UNICEF, were presented today at a public event entitled "Protection, Inclusion, Welfare: Strengthening Social Assistance and Child Protection".

Thanks to this partnership, from September 2022 to August 2023, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection and UNICEF provided financial assistance and social services through the Support for Families with Children service. This initiative prevented the separation of more than 14,000 families and 34,000 children from their parents and shielded them from other risk situations. Among these, more than 400 children were refugees from Ukraine.

Considering the significant number of refugee children separated from their parents or who fled the war unaccompanied, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection and UNICEF trained and employed 11 additional professional parental assistants. During 12 months, more than a thousand children, beneficiaries of the Professional Parental Assistance and Family type Children's House services, received 1,025 lei monthly. Additionally, 122 children with special needs benefited from 1,332 lei.

However, strengthening social services and child protection goes beyond providing financial aid, especially during crises. It necessitates enhancing human resource capacity, professional supervision, and the certification of professional competencies.

"From the first days of the war, our country hosted refugees. Approximately 100,000 Ukrainians, including around 50,000 children, remain in Moldova. In these challenging times, it was crucial to quickly bolster our capacity to assist all families and children in need. The partnership with UNICEF has been instrumental in supporting the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection's team and the country," stated Maia Sandu, President of the Republic of Moldova. 

Between September 2022 and August 2023, social workers supported more than 95,000 families and 173,000 children, including 24,000 refugee children. Child protection specialists at the territorial level assisted approximately 22,800 families and 42,700 children, of which 7,300 were refugee children.

"Strengthening the competencies of workers in the social assistance and child protection system to manage the multiple crises faced by the Republic of Moldova and provide extended support to an increased number of vulnerable families and children, has become a key priority in our partnership with UNICEF,” said Alexei Buzu, Minister of Labor and Social Protection. “We thank our partners and donors for their continuous and rapid support throughout the entire process of strengthening the social assistance and child protection system."

The energy crisis in Moldova, coupled with a significant influx of refugees from Ukraine requiring food, shelter, psychological support, and other vital services, necessitated an assessment of the burden on frontline workers while concurrently ensuring the availability of necessary human resources.

As a result, 54 child protection consultants and 54 specialists in managing the refugee crisis were additionally employed within the territorial social assistance structures. This allowed for the assistance of approximately 25,900 children, including about 5,200 refugee children, and emergency support for more than 7,600 families and 12,400 children, of which more than 6,300 were from Ukraine.

"In collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Moldova, we have achieved a balance in developing social services, enhancing human resources, and providing additional funds directly to families with children in difficult situations. This approach was critical given the 2022 poverty rate among rural children was 40.5%, compared to 13.9% in urban areas. This strategy allowed us to immediately improve the situation of children and families, especially the children who fled the war in Ukraine,” stated Maha Damaj, the UNICEF Representative in the Republic of Moldova. 

The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection and UNICEF will continue to implement the provisions and objectives outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding and the bilateral Action Plan, valid until 31 December 2026.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection and UNICEF thank the donors, such as the European Union Commission, EU Humanitarian Aid, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the Governments of the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, through the German development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, for their support in strengthening social assistance and child protection in the Republic of Moldova. 

For more information about the number of children and the assistance provided, click HERE.

Media contacts

Angela Munteanu
Communication Officer
UNICEF Moldova
Tel: + 373 22 26 91 53

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