The project aims to build and open two small group homes for the 24 children and young people out of the 48 currently living in this centre.

Hope and Homes for Children and the General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection Botoșani (DGASPC) have initiated the closing down of the Dumbrava Minunată placement centre in Pomârla, Botoșani County; the project aims to build and open two small group homes for the 24 children and young people out of the 48 currently living in this centre.

The partnership between Hope and Homes for Children and DGASPC Botoșani started in 2009 with plans to close down two old-type institutions: the Sfântul Spiridon placement centre, hosting 100 special needs children and young people aged 2 to 18, closed down in 2013, and the Elena Doamna placement centre, hosting 35 children and young people aged 10 to 25, closed down in 2015. At the same time, in the 9 years of partnership, the Hope and Homes for children specialists have been involved in supporting vulnerable children and reforming the protection system at local level, through training programmes dedicated to professionals in the field, through child-family separation prevention programmes and through social and professional integration programmes.

In early June, the first communication meeting in the project aimed at closing down the Pomârla Dumbrava Minunată placement centre was attended by the 25 employees of the centre, DGASPC Botoșani and Hope and Homes for Children representatives. Anamaria Vid-Pop, psychologist and Department Manager of Quality Assurance and Psychology and Cosmina Fratu, Hope and Homes for Children social worker, explained the Hope and Homes for Children model for closing down a child protection institution; they also explained the alternatives, both for the 48 institutionalised children and young people, and the 25 employees. To boost optimism and trust, there was a presentation of successful similar projects that the foundation has carried out in its 20 years of activity.

There were also talks with the technical team involved in the project, Hope and Homes for Children, DGASPC Botoșani and the Pomârla Dumbrava Minunată placement centre, and the timeline and project stages were discussed and set.

In the closing down process, special focus will be placed on the individual assessment of each child by DGASPC Botoșani and Hope and Homes for Children experts, namely psychologists, social workers, case managers, in order to identify the best alternatives to deinstitutionalisation. The team will try to find the best solution for each child, they will seek to reintegrate the children in their natural or extended families; for young people leaving the system, the focus will be on social and professional integration programmes.