Marius is 16 years old and has been living in the Robin Hood placement centre since May 2016. But his story in the protection system goes back much longer.
His father left him at birth, so Marius grew up surrounded by his mother’s and his grandmother Adriana’s love; he was extremely fond of the latter. When he was 5, his grandmother fell severely ill and became bed-ridden. As his mother was away at work every day and his grandmother could no longer look after him, Marius was out by himself, throwing objects out of the window, playing with the stove and sanitary installations, which was all dangerous behaviour and drew the attention of neighbours, who notified the Child Protection Authority.
The Sector 4 General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection found that Adriana was no longer able to bring up the boy alone. Therefore, the child was taken to the Emergency Reception Centre for abused children. Three days later, he received a severe blow – he found out that his grandmother, whom he was deeply attached to, had died.
After five months in the centre, Marius was transferred to a small group apartment. Even though he had been affected by his grandmother’s death, the boy stayed strong and ambitious, especially due to his mother’s constant presence in his life. She often visited him at the small group apartment, and they always spent weekends together. His relationship with her made him feel safe and gave him the strength to cope with the situation.
In early 2014, Adriana applied for and obtained his reintegration in the family. But a new relationship she formed quickly disturbed the family’s peace. In November 2015, the police found Marius alone in a café, where he had spent the previous 24 hours. The boy told the police officers that he had ran away from home because his mother’s partner frequently beat him. The Police took Marius to the Day and Night Shelter for Homeless Children, where they later on called his mother. Although the Sector 4 DGASPC tried to counsel the mother and her partner towards an appropriate parenting behaviour, the couple refused to participate in the counselling sessions. The only option was to place the child in a form of child protection. Hence, in May 2016, Marius was brought to the Robin Hood placement centre.
This second entry into the child protection system traumatized Marius much more than the first, because this time he acutely felt his mother’s abandonment. At the moment, Adriana has two other children by her new partner and has stopped visiting Marius, on the pretext that she has to look after them.
Marius is a sensitive child; his life so far has not been a happy one, it has been blighted by severe difficulties. His desire to be part of a family and to be accepted has placed him in difficult situations, and because of peer pressure, he has often acted contrary to his personality. Although he grew up without a model to look up to, Marius has managed to find balance in his life, and art has helped him discover himself. Poetry and painting help Marius relieve some of his emotional pressure and escape the sad reality he is forced to live in. In both hobbies, he is self-taught and wants to remain so, because for him art is the most honest form of self-expression.
Last year, on the 8th of March, Mother’s Day, Marius wrote a poem dedicated to his mother, entitled simply Mother:
On the clear blue sky
A star hanging
Living among other stars
Greater than them
It is my own star
My own mother
On the clear blue sky
An enchanted ray
Sending to the horizon
Warmth into love
And my happiness.
Together with other children in the Robin Hood placement centre, Marius will be moved into the Cavalerii small group home. Hope and Homes for Children together with partners Holcim Romania and DGASPC Sector 4 launched the construction works on July 12. The boy is already busy making plans for his new home, whose name he has chosen together with his future housemates. He is very happy to be moving these, he’s already picturing his room and what he can do in his private room spot. He will share a room with two other boys and he already knows that he will feel like in a family, which is just what he wants!