The children

Early years

Primary school years



Children in institutions

© UNICEF/Bivol
Girl in an institution

The number of children in care has come down from the estimated 100,000 in the years following the fall of Communism only after years of assiduous and sometimes painful reform. Living conditions in placement centres have improved significantly since those days, both in terms of staff training and infrastructure. This brought immediate improvements for the so-called orphans living in the institutions but did not treat the actual problem.

Children who live in the unnatural environment of institutions often miss out on life and social skills, have difficulty relating to others, mistrust adults and suffer from low confidence in themselves and their friends. To prevent this they should be more involved in ‘real life’ pursuits like household activities and hobbies.

One recent welcome development is that increasing numbers of children in the protectionsystem are being integrated or reintegrated in the preferable set-up of foster and extended families. Another is the greaterproportion of children with special needs who are living in a family environment. To continue this progress,a series of professionals, including social workers and foster caregivers need better training and support.





Monitoring the rights of Mentally Disabled Children in Institutions

Constant monitoring of the respect of fundamental human rights is generally acknowledged as one of the main abuse prevention and investigation tools, especially in the case of persons with disabilities, who are much more vulnerable and cannot make a complaint.

UNICEF in partnership with the Center for Legal Resources developed a study monitoring the rights of mentally disabled children in public institutions (2006).

Click to read the study:

(PDF documents require Acrobat Reader to view.)

 Email this article

unite for children