Romania is home to almost 4 million children. The country has made remarkable progress in the past 20 years, yet poverty, a lack of medical services at the local level and inadequate education still affect too many of them.
- Half are at risk of childhood poverty and social exclusion and nearly 1 in 4 suffer from severe material deprivation. (Eurostat 2017).
- 400,000 children are out of school, drastically limiting their chances to get employment when they grow up (2017 UNICEF study).
- 60,000 are separated from their families, mostly as a consequence of poverty, violence or abandonment.
- Every year, 10,000 children are separated from their parents.
- One in 10 mothers-to-be is a teenager.
- One million children are hospitalized every year. These expensive hospital stays could be avoided through local primary health services.
- More than 15,000 cases of child abuse, neglect and exploitation were reported in 2017 (National Authority for Child Protection and Adoption statistics).
Children from poor families, Roma communities, rural areas or disabled children are most vulnerable.
According to a UNICEF study, an extra year of school increases incomes by 8-9%, reduces the risk of becoming unemployed by 8% and the risk of serious health problems by 8.2%.
All children have the right to healthcare, social protection and quality education.
Social exclusion, meaning a lack of access to employment, health or education services, is caused by complex factors and affects families or communities for generations. Examples include insufficient or inadequate allocation of resources; inadequate norms, standards, tools and methodologies; and the insufficient cooperation between health, education, social and child protection systems.
The challenge is to act to prevent harm rather than only helping children already hurt – the key is to have a local system in place to detect, prevent and respond to vulnerabilities.