The children

Early years

Primary school years



Primary school years

© UNICEF/Romania

Young children generally do best when they are raised in a family environment. Previously it was assumed that most children who are exploited through child labour or get into trouble with the police are those incare. However, it is now known many such children live with their families, which makes it essential that decision makers understand the factors that shape a positive family environment.Although Romanian society has become more equal, damaging gender equalities within the family persist, particularly among the most disadvantaged. Some parents use physical punishment against their children.

Particularly – though by no means exclusively – at risk are children who have one or both parents absent, whether because they are in prison, working abroad or have abandoned the family. Another risk factor is a high number of siblings, which is linked to poverty, low educational achievement and child labour. Street children are particularly vulnerable to violence and abuse and are already victims of the failure of a coherent preventive approach bysocial services but also bythe education and health systems.

The problems facing this age group typically affect Roma in particular. Roma children are less likely to attend kindergarten and pre-school. Recent research suggested that around a quarter of Roma people have never been to school, while another quarter attended primary school only. It is for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups that pre-school attendance is the most vital: only 4.2% of Roma children who dropped out of school had attended crèche.



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