His Excellency Hans Klemm, United States Ambassador to Romania, was in Bistrița Năsăud, where he visited the Foster Care Centre for Children with Special Needs and the "Bistrița" small group home, as well as families supported by Hope and Homes for Children

On July 24th, His Excellency Hans Klemm, United States Ambassador to Romania, was in Bistrița Năsăud, where he visited the Foster Care Centre for Children with Special Needs and the "Bistrița" small group home, as well as families supported by Hope and Homes for Children, together with Emil-Radu Moldovan, President of Bistrița-Năsăud County Council, Delia Rus, General Director of the General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection Bistrița-Năsăud and Ștefan Dărăbuș, Regional Director, Central and South Europe, Hope and Homes for Children. This was the third visit of His Excellency in the counties where Hope and Homes for Children operates, after the visits in Maramureș in 2017, respectively, in Iași in March 2018.

The first visit was to the Foster Care Centre for Children with Special Needs in Bistrița. The centre is for children and young people with severe disabilities, right now 39 children and young people between aged 2 to 28 years old are benefitting from the services of this centre.

Then, His Excellency paid a visit to the small group home "Bistrița" created by Hope and Homes for Children in partnership with the General Directorate for Social

Assistance and Child Protection and the Bistrița-Năsăud County Council. In this home, opened at the beginning of July, live 14 children aged 8 to 18 years old.

“Since the Romanian Revolution, the United States has shown a very strong interest in the efforts of Romanians, of Romanian authorities, especially at the local level, to deinstitutionalize children and to place them in families rather than in state institutions. Working in partnership with Hope and Homes for Children, I had the opportunity to see what is happening in the field, to see the partnership developed by the community, central authorities and NGOs such as Hope and Homes for Children in order to achieve something, that I believe we all agree, is the best option for children: to move from state institutions to homes. The existing partnership here in Bistrița is very impressive. I have a high opinion after visiting only a few places”, stated His Excellency Hans Klemm, Ambassador of the United States of America to Romania.

The visit of the US Ambassador in Bistrița-Năsăud continued with trips in Feldru, Ilva Mică and Rodna, where His Excellency met a foster mother who took care of 4 brothers and two families who were enrolled in the programme preventing child- family separation run by Hope and Homes for Children.

In the case of the family living in Ilva Mică, the mother was helped by Hope and Homes for Children to take her five children back after they were put into foster care in 2013 because of her former husband, who was convicted as he had been extremely abusive and had assaulted all family members. The mother had a fresh start, remarried and, with the support received from Hope and Homes for Children, finished the family’s house, thus creating the necessary conditions for her children to return home.

The last visit was to a family from Rodna, enrolled in the Hope and Homes for Children programme preventing child-family separation. The family, which has three children at home and two other children with special needs institutionalized at Bistrița Foster Care Centre is currently living in the drying room of a social housing building. The mother raise her children using welfare benefit and the father occasionally works in the community. Hope and Homes for Children is currently in the process of finding to buy an apartment for this family in order to prevent abandonment and to reintegrate the institutionalized children into the family.