The lack of love and attachment that are specific to a family and the lack of stimulation and individual attention that every child needs cause devastating effects. Orphanages deprive children from the things they need most in order to grow, to develop and to be able to trust others.
18 years ago, in Romania, there were about 100,000 children in old-type institutions, also known as ‘orphanages’. Today, as a result of our programmes, only 8,000 children are left in institutions in Romania. We focus on closing down old-type institutions and we aim to replace the institutional child protection system with a system that is based on a family concept. We seek to determine the State to adopt our programmes for preventing the separation of children from their families and for reintegrating children with their families. Since the beginning, we have been constantly contributing to the reform of the child protection system in Romania.
Hope and Homes for Children is a global foundation, established in 1994 by Mark Cook and his wife, Caroline. At first, they wanted to build an organisation that aimed to repair and rebuild the orphanages that were destroyed during the Bosnian War. Working with children in orphanages, they came to realise that they had needs that could not be fulfilled in such institutions - what the children needed was the love and safety of a family.
In Romania, we began developing projects in 1998; a year later, we succeeded in closing down our first orphanage - Cavnic, from Maramureș county. We focus our efforts on closing down the old-type child protection institutions in Romania, and on replacing the institutional system with one that is based on the concept of family. Ever since the beginning of our Foundation, we have been working together with the state authorities to reform the child protection system - we've worked alongside local and regional councils, child protection services and ministries, to guarantee the sustainability of the social services we design.
What we do
What we do
Closing down institutions
In 2000, in Romania there were about 100,000 children in old-type institutions, also known as ‘orphanages’. In 2016, almost 8,000 children were still living in institutions. The trauma and the devastating consequences of institutionalisation are some of the worst forms of abuse and violence against children.
Children who grow up in orphanages display problems in their physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. The children leaving institutional care face difficulties in becoming independent adults and are often exposed to abuse, exploitation, traffic or antisocial behavior.
Our vision is to close down all the orphanages in Romania by the year 2022.
Preventing separation of children from families
39% of children in Romania live in poverty; they have no clothes and no shoes, they don't attend school and, in some days, they have nothing to eat. Thus, parents often choose to leave their children in institutional care - in orphanages - where they will receive food. But also, where they will be deprived of affection.
We believe that, in a child's interest, family comes first. Therefor, we support keeping children with their parents, through a diverse approach on assistance. Each of our action plans is personalised, each decision made by specialists takes into account individual criteria and indicators.
In the past 15 years, due to our interventions, 25.787 children have remained with their families.
Social and professional integration
Every year, approximately 3.000 young people, aged between 18 and 27, leave institutional care without being prepared, or having very limited skills, for an independent life. And the personnel that interacts with them often lacks the skills to help them overcome this gap. Unprepared and on their own after a life spent in institutional care, young people are not able to perform daily tasks.
In our social and professional integration programme, we work to improve independent life skills, we build the premises for professional integration, and we provide housing with the help of local authorities.
Since 2002, when we began this programme, we have supported the social reintegration of 862 young people.
Reform of the child protection system
We contribute to reforming the child protection system in Romania, through strategic partnerships, by designing scalable and sustainable social services, and by training the personal involved in the system.
We contribute to reforming the child protection system at a national level, through strategic partnerships with the Romanian Government, the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and the Elderly, and UNICEF, an locally, through collaborations with County Child Protection Departments. We offer professional training programmes for the personnel, as well as for the managers working in the child protective system. We have designed a proprietary educational curricula and we have built a training centre in Baia Mare.
We have trained 8.125 staff members from the child protection system in Romania and in 10 other countries in Europe, Africa and Latin America.
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Hope and Homes for Children
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Hope and Homes for Children