10 key solutions to improve the situation of children in Romania
For every child, results as part of national COVID recovery
1. Build back better with and for children and the future of Romania.
Use COVID crisis as an opportunity to address structural issues children are facing which have only become worse during the crisis. What was done before can be done better, tackling different barriers and gaps such as equity and contributing to the Agenda 2030 and SDGs.
Example: use of EU structural funds for integrated social services from one funding source (covering several specific objectives, ie. education, social assistance, health) and not in a competitive manner (like previous CCLD – because most marginalized mayoralties don’t have the capacity to write, implement, report on such projects), but rather in a non-competitive project aiming to scale up an initiative (such as the MPS).
2. Put principles of ‘children first’ and ‘leave no child behind’ in all National Plans, Strategies and Programmes to be developed and implemented, including that for recovery and reconstruction after the COVID crisis and it’s economic aftermath (which should include some measured indicators of plans/strategies directly relate to children).
Example: This can be translated for example, in a x % of budget of the respective Plan/Strategy/Programme to target directly children (and their families, caregivers, etc.)
3. Make permanent the Partnership with and for children, a National Ministerial level coordination body under the leadership of the Prime Minister or Vice prime Minister) and ensure by law the investment of at least 10% of ESF for children.
Example: The coordination body could for example monitor systematically the reduction of the % of children at risk of poverty and social exclusion and adjust national programmes and strategies for a /better advancement for inclusion.
4. Extend the Minimum Package of Services to all children in Romania, by placing a community nurse, and a social worker in every community and an education counselor in every school (including the use of AURORA software). Invest in their capacities. MPS offers the basis for the excepted EU-led child guarantee.
Example: by 2025, all rural communities can have the MPS team in place, a guarantee for social inclusion of most vulnerable.
5. Develop Integrated Community Services Center, with both physical as well as digital access to information (facts for life) and inclusive services, including specialized services for children with disabilities (CWD) using existing budgets and EU funds.
Example: ensure that at least 20% of children who are now left behind or ‘invisible’ for (available) services, have access to digital/tele services in health and education sectors.
6. Develop online (blended) learning materials and capacities, including through teachers and parents training/learning (LearnIn), to ensure access of most vulnerable children, especially of poor, Roma and CWD, to quality and inclusive education, helping to close the existing educational and digital divide.
Example: All children learn together (No more segregated and separate schools/classes for Roma children or CWD).
7. Improve preventive health care services including through vaccination programmes, maternal and neo-natal health and nutrition as well as health promotion, disease prevention and health education.
Example: by promoting home, school, community hygiene practices, health screenings, laws.
8. Strengthen availability of quality disaggregated data and information on the situation of children in Romania, to develop better plans based on evidence and strengthen ability to monitor.
Example: have a yearly report on child wellbeing based on a number of core indicators, disaggregated based on age, gender, ethnicity, rural/urban, level of education/employment of parents, etc.
9. Establish concrete mechanisms for child participation in policy and decision making in line with the EU Children Declaration adopted during the Romanian EU Presidency last year. Empower children to advocate for their rights through media literacy.
Example: at least one child to be part of the Partnership with and for children working group, the Prime minister to have a child as a councilor.
10. All cities and municipalities to become child friendly (CFCI), i.e. offering good governance for all children, accessible services with children at the center of planning, design, accountability mechanisms.
Example: to have by 2022, 3 Child Friendly Municipalities.