Parenting programme in Romania

We work to ensure that all parents in Romania can have access to Parenting Education so that their children receive all the support to thrive.

A family with three children, including one with disability
UNICEF/ Cybermedia

The challenge

Every age comes with different opportunities and risks. Even in the best of circumstances, helping children reach their full potential is a continuous challenge for parents.

Obstacles that parents, caregivers and legal guardians face in Romania include: poverty, lack of access to social protection and health services, domestic violence, migration, living in remote areas. Apart from these, adults at times lack the knowledge and skills or access to resources enabling them to provide the best environment for child development.

Such shortfalls can lead to abuse, neglect and health issues, lack of attention, low communication and quality time spent with the child, low self-esteem and school dropouts. These severely limit children’s chances of breaking the cycles of poverty, thus affecting families for generations.

More than 15,000 cases of child abuse, neglect and exploitation have been reported in 2017, according to the latest statistics from National Authority for Child Protection and Adoption.

Violence against children is widespread. While extreme violence is seen as unacceptable (e.g. beatings, sexual abuse, rape), several forms of “mild” violence, like slapping, yelling, humiliation still tolerated in Romania.

According to a UNICEF study, more than half of all parents admit to raising their voice at their children while 11% admit to slapping a child or pulling their hair. 

Evidence from around the world shows that non-violent discipline is the best in helping a child grow, and to being healthy and responsible.

The number of parents who abandon their children continues to be numerous. Almost 10,000 children end up in public care every year.

Despite progress, over the past 25 years, an estimated 400,000 Romanian children remain out of school, two out of 10 children don’t finish eighth grade and only six out of 10 go to high school.

With a decrease in vaccination coverage and spread of preventable diseases, it would appear that family health awareness is decreasing. The measles outbreak killed 59 persons, mostly children, according to the Ministry of Health figures.

The solution

Our goal is to protect all children and to support parents, guardians and caregivers everywhere to maximize their parenting skills. Together with authorities and NGOs, we have been developing parenting education activities for all age groups since 2010. This set of good practices developed as part of UNICEF’s projects Come to School Campaign (Hai la Școală!) and Quality Inclusive Education Package in Romania has already been shared with six EU states and Israel in a European conference organized with HoltIs and the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University, in Iasi.

Parenting education is a set of activities and methods that support families to develop skills and knowledge to provide care, feeding and protection. It is tailored to children from birth to 18, to their varying needs and to those of their parents or caregivers.

We strengthen parenting skills to foster: 

  • respectful and loving interactions between parents and children;
  • encouragement and opportunities to learn for parents and children;
  • sharing and helping among parents and children;
  • protection from physical danger, adequate nutrition and health care.

It also supports children to:

  •  develop independence;
  •  take responsibility and make smart choices;
  •  engage in activities that support their development and healthy self-esteem;
  •  have the opportunity to observe and socialize with positive role models and develop a cultural identity.

A strong collaboration between schools, parents and communities improves children’s learning.

UNICEF’s international experience and the best practices implemented in Romania have proven that parenting classes:

  • contribute to a higher school participation: school absenteeism dropped by 61% following parenting classes;
  • improve parent-child communication;
  • increase parents’ self-confidence, because of the interaction with other participants, in a context that valorizes them and their positive experiences;
  • improve communication between parents and schools, particularly because parenting educators are often local teachers.

UNICEF in Romania, HoltIS and the Ministry of Education developed the www.educatieparentala.ro platform which monitors and ensures quality standards and ethics. Over 800 educators are part of the program and more than 31,000 parents and caregivers in Romania received support through parenting classes.

UNICEF has worked with representatives from three Ministries (the Ministry of Labor and Social Justice — through the National Authority for the Protection of Child's Rights and Adoption (ANPDCA), the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Education), NGOs and universities to develop a National Parenting Education Strategy. Its purpose is to ensure that all parents in Romania can have access to these classes and that their children receive all the support to thrive. 

UNICEF stands ready to support the Ministry of Education and its other partners to finalize the Strategy and implement it – to ensure that all parents, girls and boys living in Romania can profit from the best possible parenting.

Resources

Lear more about the Parenting programme and about our efforts to make it available to all parents and caregivers in Romania.

More details about UNICEF Quality Inclusive Education Package in this leaflet.

More information on why we need a national strategy on parenting skills in the research study on the Need to Implement the National Integrated Strategy for the Training and Development of Parenting Competencies

More information about parenting in Parenting Education in Romania study.