22 children at risk of being separated from their families were helped to stay

15 young people who left the child protection system were assisted in order to start a life on their own

60 children and young people took part in financial literacy training courses and workshops

Hope and Homes for Children and KRUK România concluded a partnership in December 2017 by means of which the company, member of the KRUK International Financial Group, supports the onoing projects of the Fundation dedicated to preventing the separation of children from their families, helping young people leaving the child protection system to become socio-professionaly integrated and delivering financial education to children and young people in the child protection system. The results achieved in the first year of partnership have led to its prolongation in 2019.

By taking part in the programme preventing child-family separation and due to the financial support offered by KRUK Romania, 13 families in distress from Bucharest and from Bistrița Năsăud, Brașov, Iași, Sibiu and Suceava counties were able to keep their children. The 22 children were helped to stay in school and their families received all the assistance they needed in order to improve life conditions: renovating and insulating homes, restoring the roof where needed, buying stoves necessary for heating and cooking, buying firewood, supplementing the food reserves or helping with the rent payments for a fixed period of time. Hope and Homes for Children spends on average 873 euro per year to support a child at risk of being separated from the family, while the Romanian state spends the same amount monthly on a child put into a foster care centre.

After receiving support targeted at improving the living conditions at home, a family from Suceava stated:

“Now it’s warm inside the house and the children are finally relieved because they are well. I am also relieved to know they won’t get sick that often and that I won’t have to spend a lot of money on medicine. You realise it breaks my heart to know them sick, it is best when we are all healthy.”

15 young people from Bistrița Năsăud, Brașov, Botoșani, Iași, Suceava and Sibiu counties coming from the child protection system and from institutions that are being closed down by the Foundation receved support in their transition to an independent, adult life. The assistance provided by Hope and Homes for Children and KRUK Romanian consisted of counseling sessions on different topics (personal hygiene, promoting a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet, learning income management skills, finding a job and accessing the job market, keeping their job etc.) material support (donating food, household items, small pieces of furniture and appliances) and financial support (covering the rent) on a fixed period of time, until financial stability was reached.

“If it weren’t for you, Hope and Homes for Children and KRUK Romania, I wouldn’t have found an apartment to rent because no one would have given it to me, even though I had the money. I don’t know why, I guess they imagine I wouldn’t be able to pay or I would steal something if I told them I was coming from an institution”, said one of the young people supported through this partnership.

The third component of the partnership were the financial literacy training sessions attended by 60 children and young people from the "Robin Hood" foster care centre in Sector 4, Bucharest, the "Casa mea", "Amicii" and "Floare de Colț" apartment complexes in Dorohoi, the "Cireșarii" and "Prietenia" foster care centres in Botoșani and by children in alternative care from Maramureș. They all received information on financial terms, loans and interest rates, learned how to manage their budget and prioritise their expenditures and how to optimise the budget by adapting expenditures to existing resources. All of these concepts are extremely important because they are helping young people develop the skills they need in order to live independently, manage their household and prioritise their spendings.

“Early financial education is an essential ability for the young generation, for the future financial decisions taken during adulthood. The skills children and young people are supposed to learn in their families, in school - having a piggy bank, drafting a spending plan with two simple sections: how much money we have and what our expenses are - can make the difference between going into debt and living a fulfilled and responsible life”, said Tomasz Ignaczak, Director General at KRUK Romania.

The partnership between the Foundation and KRUK Romania will continue in 2019 and aims to keep providing national support to children at risk of being separated from their families, as well as organising financial literacy training sessions for children and young people taking part in the Hope and Homes for Children programmes.