Visiting the small group homes in Cluj Napoca

In October 2015, Hope and Homes for Children closed down ”Prichindelul” Placement Center in Cluj-Napoca and opened two small group homes, "Grigorescu" and "Târnavelor". The 24 children were prepared for the move by a team of psychologists, social workers and educators that took into account all the needs of children. Thus, they explained them what is a small group home, which are their responsibilities there, who takes care of them, with whom they are going to live, and the children visited the areas under construction and were involved in choosing clothes, toys and school supplies they will use after the move. When they moved into their new home, the children were happy to find that they had more space, beds and cupboards, and personal things. But the work of the organization, in terms of deinstitutionalisation process and ensuring the best living conditions for these children in an environment as close to the family, did not end there.

In the first three months after opening the small group homes, the post moving monitoring of the children is done by the team of specialists responsible for the deinstitutionalization project. Thus, in March, we visited the two small group homes, a quite normal step in the process of closing old type institutions and offering support to these children. The intention was to find out how they adapted to their new home, which are their actual needs, how they adapted to the new route to school, how they get along with staff and colleagues, how they occupy their free time and other information that helps in the current picture of the lives of these children.

Change is difficult, even more so for children. Even if a child has been trained and supported throughout relocation, post placement support is essential. It is therefore important that the Hope and Homes for Children team to be involved even after moving the children through regular visits and continuous presence in their lives.

The results of this visit were very good: the staff involved and helped children in any situation, identified opportunities for leisure and educational activities, helped with homework, were there for them when they need it and the children felt all these things and have adapted well to their new home. They told what they had done in recent months, how how their lives have changed, how they made new friends and activities inside and ouside the house.

After this period, the Hope and Homes for Children quality monitoring team takes responsibility to periodically visit these houses to ensure that everything goes well, that quality standards are observed, that children's rights are not violated and that the care and their education are provided according to individual needs and development of each child.

Text by Florina Crețar, social worker