Overview of the Romanian child care system
New elements from the new law on child rights (272/2004)
The reforms undergone by the Romanian child care system culminated in the in the new law on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of the Child , which came into effect on January 1 st 2005. The public authorities, civil society as well as individuals are now responsible for guaranteeing the rights of the child as stipulated by Romania's Constitution, the new law, and in accordance with the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The present law, subordinated primarily to the child's best interest stipulates for the first time that parents have the main responsibility in raising and ensuring the proper development of a child . Subsidiary responsibility falls onto the extended family and the local community to which the child belongs. The local authorities have an obligation to support parents by providing accessible services which should respond to the child's needs - and by prioritising those families in difficulty. The intervention of the state is complementary to the rights of the family. The state has a duty to ensures the protection of the child and guarantees the observance of all rights, and can only intervene in cases of abuse or severe deprivation. The law aims to change the idea that the state could replace parental care.
Protection of the rights of the child doesn't mean violation of the parents' rights. The parents must assume some obligations without which children's development is not possible. According to the new law both parents are responsible for the upbringing of their children, even if they are divorced.
The social security service will undertake all the necessary measures for the early identification of risk situations, which may determine the separation of the child from his or her parents, as well as for the prevention of abusive behaviours and family violence inflicted upon the child.
Changes were made within institutions at the local and central level:
The National Authority for the Protection of Child Rights (NAPCR), subordinated to the ministry of Labour, Social Solidarity and Family which plays a central role on the issues affecting children in difficulty with strategic, regulatory, administrative, representative and monitoring functions;
Local Directorates for Social Assistance and Child Protection which are mainly responsible for resolving cases involving children in difficulty as well as liaising with county councils and ensuring that sufficient resources are allocated;
The Romanian Office for Adoptions has been set up with the role of monitoring children ready for adoption and families willing and able to adopt, monitoring the evolution of internationally adopted children and taking measures against children trafficking.