Historical decision of the Romanian High Court: Family-based foster care can no longer be restricted!

The Romania Without Orphans Alliance (ARFO), represented by the Law Firm of Rațiu & Rațiu, obtained a definitive judgment of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) that cancelled certain restrictive provisions in the law governing the placement of children in family based foster care within the child protection system.

Back in 2015, the Ministry of Labor and Social Justice in Romania limited the chances of children in the system of having a foster care placement family through Ordinance 1733. As a result of its issuance, many orphanages used the existence of this regulation to prohibit children from having a chance to be in family care.

“After the issuance of Ordinance 1733, we received word from all over the country that requests for family based foster care for children from residential care centers were being refused because on this very ordinance.  Unfortunately, there are many children who could have had a family but are still in orphanages due to these provisions which have been proven to be illegal,” said Liviu Mihăileanu, President of the Romania Without Orphans Alliance.

Residential care centers can no longer restrict family-based care

Through the legal action of ARFO, the restrictive provisions introduced by Ordinance 1733 have been canceled. The High Court judges decided that the restrictions were illegal and did not consider the best interests of children.

Individuals with a certificate of adoption can now take children in family based foster care

Another unlawful restriction prohibited the placement of children with a person or family certified as able to adopt, for the simple reason that this person indicated the intent to adopt a child. The High Court also found this article to be illegal and thus canceled the provision considering that such a limitation imposes restrictions that are not in the best interest of children.

“The High Court’s decision corrects serious problems of illegality directed against the best interests of children. The decision is final and will be published in the Official Monitor of Romania, part I”, said Marilena Ene, Partner within the Law Firm Rațiu & Rațiu.

Why is this important?

A sixteen-year longitudinal study done in Bucharest by Harvard University showed that the trauma of abandonment negatively affected the development of a child’s brain architecture. However, the study also found that when children were placed into a family where they felt safe and loved, their brain structure was able to regenerate the missing connections and restore lost functions.

In Romania, there are over 50,000 children without parental care, of which almost 20,000 are institutionalized in social apartments, social houses or even orphanages. Unfortunately, once children enter the child protection system, they stay an average of 7.5 years. Only 6% of children have the theoretical chance of being adopted (having been declared adoptable) and only 2.5% are adopted each year.

About the Romania Without Orphans Alliance (ARFO)

The Romania without Orphans Alliance (ARFO) brings together non-governmental and professional organizations, public and private, who have dedicated themselves to serving the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of children in difficulty, their services including adoption, family placement, maternal assistance, counseling and abandonment prevention.

Romania Without Orphans Alliance (ARFO) is affiliated with World Without Orphans (WWO) and Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO).

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