Following our lobbying efforts aligned with ARFO (Romanian Without Orphans Alliance), the Romanian President issued the Decree to enforce the modifications brought to Law 272/2004 on Children’s Rights and Protection. The modifications contain procedural aspects designed to reduce bureaucracy in the child welfare system and to offer greater chances for abandoned children to experience life in a family.
Among the main modifications:
- Reduction of the bureaucratic processes for adoption through obtaining the release from a child’s extended family members by limiting the degree of the next of kin from the fourth degree to just relatives of the third degree.
- The expectation is that case managers are obliged to have children adopted as a final objective of their individualized protection plan within the legal limits of 6 to 12 months.
- Interdiction against children being moved from a family-style living arrangement to residential housing
- Institutionalization of children under 7 years of age is allowed only for children who have medical situations that leave them with a complete lack of normal functionality.
- Foster placement can be in any region of the country, not just in a limited area around the place where the case originated.
- Interdiction, for the Commission of Child Protection as well as the judicial bodies to communicate with biological parents information about the address, income, properties, or medical/psychological situation of the person or family caring for the child
- Judicial bodies may offer parental rights and obligations for the child to persons, families, foster parents, or the director of residence style housing for foster children.
- The obligation of biological parents to participate in counseling sessions to develop parenting skills in the case of family reintegration.
- Reintegration in biological families will be monitored for a minimum of two years.
- Clear timelines for government specialists in resolving situations involving the welfare of children.
- Measures to prevent and combat aggressive behavior and forms of psychological violence (bullying).
- Measures for the protection of foreign minors who are located inside Romania.
In Romania, there are approximately 46,000 children in the child protection system, and around another 9,000 children enter the system each year through abandonment or other tragedies they experience, whether we’re talking about abuse, negligence, parents’ death, imprisonment, or other causes.
Around 6,000 children are adoptable at this moment, but, at the national level, we have only 3,000 approved adopters.
Many of the modifications proposed by ARFO in this legislative process have involved placement of children in families, cutting the red tape in the process of intervention, and limiting children’s time in institutions. “We believe these modifications, published already in the Official Monitor, will have positive effects for tens of thousands of children,” states Liviu Mihaileanu, the president of ARFO.