Hope and Homes for Children started the programme for child-family separation prevention in 2001 in order to help families who risk abandoning their children in orphanages. This programme, also supported by Farmexpert and Alphega Farmacies, helps 2000 children to stay together with their families yearly. 

The Tenescu family comes from a village in Botoșani county and was enrolled in the programme for child-family separation prevention in 2018, after the house they lived together with their seven children between 1 and 17 burned in February. Luckily, none of them was in the house at that moment and the neighbours called the firefighters, who managed to save a section of the house.

Following the fire, the mother and her five younger children got into the Botoșani Maternal Centre, whereas the father and the two older children lived at an uncle in their village. They wished for the family to be reunited, but this was impossible without a home. The Tenescu family is appreciated by the community and their difficult situation was brought to the attention of the local authorities, who decided to help them reunite. With no support, the children risked ending up in the child protection system, despite their parents’ wish to keep taking care of them.

The social worker from the town hall found a house for rent, so the father and the two children moved in until they could repair their own home. Their house was in close proximity to the house they rented, so the father kept using the field around their house to grow vegetables to eat and preserve throughout the winter. 

At the same time, the social worker of the Botoșani Maternal Centre asked for help from Hope and Homes for Children for repairing the family’s home. The Foundation’s experts, together with the social worker, assessed the situation and devised an action plan which consisted not only of food, clothing, shoes, school supplies and health and hygiene products, but also the necessary materials for the repair work. Shortly after, the materials were acquired from a store in the village and the house was repaired. To this aim, the father asked for the support of the neighbours and other community members regarding the repair work, so that worker costs could be spared. When the works started, the mother and the other children left the maternal centre to join them and moved in a neighbour’s house, where they also paid rent. While the father repaired the house, she cooked for him and the people helping, took care of the children and worked in the garden.

All family members were involved in rebuilding the house and reuniting the family. When the work was finished, the family returned to their home. This confirmed the village population that the family was trustworthy, that they wished above all else to be together and that nothing could stop them from fulfilling their wish. The partners involved received thus the confirmation that the Tenescu family was worth the effort and support they provided, as the family managed to handle very well a situation that could have become critical. 

Thanks to these measures, implemented by Hope and Homes for Children and their local partners, aided by Farmexpert and the Alphega Farmacies when the family needed it the most, the children were prevented from being separated from their parents. Hope and Homes for Children will continue to monitor the family and provide support whenever necessary.