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UNICEF in Romania

Remaining challenges in social sectors


Remaining challenges in social sectors

© UNICEF/Romania00386/Pirozzi
Children playing at a social care centre

In spite of the positive legislative environment created by the accession process, there is still a significant gap between plans and the allocation of resources, including insufficient national and local level budgets, technical and administrative capacity, and know-how. The weaknesses of the accountability systems are coupled with those in the monitoring systems in terms of follow-up of government programs.

There are also remaining gaps in the capacity to assess and analyze the situation of children, especially regarding disaggregated data highlighting disparities among children. Child-centered research has been donor-driven and is not yet institutionalized. Gaps also exist in mechanisms for participation, consultation, and filing complaints for children and families. The current capacity gaps are not likely to be bridged and new challenges may emerge in parallel.

Among the observations raised by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Committee in 2003, several are still relevant including the continuous discrimination of Roma children, the weak implementation of enacted legislation, the importance of increased budget allocations for education and health, as well as its decentralization with a particular focus on children living in disadvantaged counties. The Committee also highlighted the need for systematic and comprehensive compilation of data on children in all areas covered by the CRC, while underlining the need to develop a comprehensive child-centered family policy, to strengthen preventive measures, and to ensure that adolescents have better access to medical and psychosocial counseling.

Structural problems within the health system include major coverage disparities and management deficiencies. The budget allocation for health as well as the total health expenditure per citizen places Romania in the last position in EU.

While the school system has undergone a significant reform process, it is still struggling with inadequate school infrastructure, as well as weaknesses in curricula and teaching materials, resulting in a learning environment which is not child-friendly. School violence is an emerging issue, and a 2004 baseline research on violence in schools found that 75% of all schools in Romania are affected by violence. The proportion of unqualified teachers is much higher in rural areas, and segregation of Roma children is still widespread although the Ministry of Education issued a notice on desegregation in 2005.

The child protection system has been overburdened for many years, although it has managed considerable achievements in the de-institutionalisation of children. The system is slowly effecting a shift towards increased preventive services, increased services for social assistance, as well as increased promotion of integrated cross-sectoral services.



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