Full of love and affection, Irina (20 years old) struggles to be the best mother for her three children (5, 3, and 2 years old), and her less-than-two-month-old baby, whom she raises alone – their father is not interested in their upbringing and offers no support, even taking the child allowance for himself. With no steady income and no support from the family, Irina and her children are at a high risk of poverty and dropping out of kindergarten, given their lack of necessary material and financial resources.

The five of them live in unsanitary conditions in a room provided by Irina’s grandmother. The scarcely-furnished room, with a small closet and a bed, was not insulated, the floor consisted of bare cement, the window was broken, the cold came through the door and the mother lacked sufficient wood for heating and cooking. Even though the room is tiny, Irina [MI1] makes sure it is clean and tidy.

The children risk being taken to a state institution, so the family came to the attention of the General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Care Services (DGASPC) Brașov. The young mother will have none of it and says she is ready to do whatever she can to keep her children by her side. She reached out to several institutions in order to receive the financial aid she is entitled to, as well as the children’s allowance she is owned by right. Although she is very attached to her children, as well as strong and determined to overcome her current situation, she will not be able to do it without specialised support, psychological counselling and financial resources.

Irina and her four children were enrolled in the programme for child-family separation prevention carried out by Hope and Homes for Children, so that a multiple-stage plan was drafted.

The mother was counselled to sue her former partner in order to win the child allowance, given that the children are in her care.

To solve the housing problem, the window was repaired, the window glass replaced, the door replaced and wood for the winter was bought and donated, as well as materials for a wooden floor. At the same time, the family received the material support they needed: clothing, shoes, food, toys, napkins, powder milk, hygiene products, as well as the following being covered: doctor appointments for the children and a dentist’s surgical intervention for Irina.

Preventing the children from dropping out of kindergarten was also a key priority, by paying the fees for two of the children and by donating the necessary school supplies.

The mother is being further counselled on how to obtain state benefits, on maintaining a healthy lifestyle or enrolling at a general physician. She is advised and guided regarding the access to state health insurance and counselled on understanding the children’s medical conditions. Additionally, investigations and treatments for identified health problems are being covered. Together with social workers of DGASPC Brașov, a mobile meal centre is sought so that the family can add to their food sources.     

Despite not having permanent and steady material resources, Iulia does all she can to provide her children with all they need; the relationship can only be very warm, but she knows she needs guidance and support to develop her parenting, child education and communication skills. Besides all that, her interest to continue her studies and to get a job as soon as possible is highly appreciated, given the fact that she only finished in the fifth grade.

Due to the support provided by Hope and Homes for Children and City Insurance when Irina and her children needed it the most, they will be able to overcome the difficult period ahead. Hope and Homes for Children will provide further assistance so that the family can have an independent life, stay together and so that the children do not drop out of kindergarten and later of school.

 Text by Sorina Moldovan