Fresh News

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Prime Minister Florin Cîțu’s participation alongside State Advisor Mădălina Turza, in the presentation event of the draft normative act for the implementation of the National Program "Caring for children"

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

“Caring for Children” - the largest Program dedicated to the children’s emotional health and safety, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

 48 percent of children and parents experienced anxiety, often along with situations of aggressiveness, emotional disorders, depression, eating or sleeping disorders, abuse or neglect, screen addiction, phobias, (cyber) bullying, suicide attempts or substance use during the COVID-19 pandemic [1].

Criminal offences with 8,122 child victims were reported during 2020, whereas, in the first 7 months of 2021, criminal offences with 5,111 child victims [2] were reported. A Europol report (2020) outlined that Eastern Europe has become a source of online child abuse and/or exploitation material produced during the pandemic at the global level, because of travel restrictions and excessive internet use.

In order to address these issues, the Romanian Government has initiated, for the first time, the National Child Support Program“CARING FOR CHILDREN”, in the context of the COVID 19 Pandemic. The priorities of this program are:

  • Protection of children's mental and emotional integrity by establishing assessment and intervention mechanisms to ensure their mental health during the COVID-19 and post-pandemic period;
  • Development of multidisciplinary prevention and intervention mechanism in case of physical, sexual and emotional abuse within the family, and institutional, community and online framework.

Romania thus becomes one of the first European countries to place on the public agenda of priorities the dimension of children's psycho-emotional health, but also their safety, in the context of the new types of threats to which they are exposed. The program represents an innovative approach of national legislation, given that its measures address in a cross-cutting way two major issues regarding children, in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic, namely the children psycho-emotional support and safety:

 

  • 70,000 hours of psychological counselling and psychotherapy for children identified with psycho-emotional disorders caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,
  • The topics like psycho-emotional education, emotions management, online safety are included by the Ministry of Education in the school curriculum;
  • Training sessions will be provided for at least 7,000 specialists in the field of emotions and relationship management, methods of identification and intervention in disruptive psycho-emotional situations.
  • Skills training module in the psycho-emotional field for teachers, at the level of master's studies in teaching;
  • School inspectors designated for the inclusion and psycho-pedagogical support management,
  • Hearing rooms established in each county for child victims of criminal offences,
  • An integrated computer system developed for the intuitive analysis and sorting of images and videos of potential abusive nature for children, which will substantially streamline the component of combating child pornography and online minors’ exploitation and abuse,
  • Implementing a real-time alert mechanism for missing children,
  • Creating a single national emergency number for child-related emergencies,
  • Development of the dingrijapentrucopii.gov.ro resource platform dedicated to children, specialists and parents. It will contain specialized materials drawn up by professionals in the field, as well as guidelines and procedures.

The program spans 2 years and will have a budget of almost 6 million euros.

"This was one of the largest participatory construction processes, coordinated at the level of the Government, and I genuinely deem as important the fact that the beneficiaries of the proposed measures, namely the children, were actively involved", stated Prime Minister Florin Cîțu.

"The program has the necessary data to be a starting point and a model of how to develop collaboratively and quantifiably a national public policy that reforms and updates areas that have not been addressed for decades. We started this approach with the strong belief that we can change the paradigm in the complex field of advancing the wellbeing of our children ”- State Advisor Mădălina TURZA

More information

The Interministerial Committee for the Development of the National Child Support Program“CARING FOR CHILDREN”, in the Context of the COVID 19 Pandemic, completed its technical sessions in late August. For three months, dozens of experts, psychologists, psychiatrists, students and parents have contributed to the development of one of the largest programs dedicated to the wellbeing of children and families. The committee was set up by Prime Minister Florin Cîțu’s decision and was coordinated by State Advisor Madalina TURZA and is aimed at drawing up the draft Emergency Ordinance for the adoption of the Program. The ordinance is currently under endorsement procedure.

Members of the Committee and the technical working groups: Presidential Administration, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, Ministry of Investments and European Projects, Ministry of Finance, Special Telecommunications Service, General Inspectorate of the Romanian National Police, National Agency for Payments and Social Inspection, National Authority for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Children and Adoptions, National Agency for Equal Opportunities, National Anti-Drug and Mental Health Center, Romanian College of Psychologists, Romanian Social Workers National College, National Federation of Associations of Parents, National Council of Students, National Union of County Councils of Romania, Association of Municipalities in Romania, Association of Communes in Romania, Romanian Association of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, The Romanian Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions , ProActa Edu Association, Transilvania College, General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection Sector 6, eLiberare Association, Save the Children, UNICEF Romania.

For further information about the program, please contact State Advisor in the PM Chancellery Mădălina Turza, at the telephone number: 0737545955

[1] Save the Children Romania, The Impact of the Pandemic on the Emotional Well-Being of Children - Data from the Case of the Save the Children Romania Counseling Centers, Bucharest, May 2021, p. 11.

[2] Ministry of Internal Affairs, Statistical data on Violence against Children, 2020.

 

 

 

***

Remarks by Prime Minister Florin Cîțu at the presentation event of the draft normative act for the implementation of the National Program "Caring for children"

 

[Check against delivery]

 

Good afternoon.

I am pleased to announce that Romania is one of the first countries in the world to come up with applied solutions to children in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic.

The works of the committee for the drawing up of the National Child Support Program, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic 'Caring for children" have been completed, and the emergency ordinance that will substantiate this program is to be adopted by the Government. I think it will be adopted next week.

I congratulate State Advisor Mădălina Turza for having succeeded in keeping things moving and she will provide you with all the details.

It is a draft that I care about a lot and I am happy that we managed to have it in such a short time.

As I have always said, the best solutions are put forward by specialists.

The measures in this program are the result of dozens of meetings of the technical working groups that brought to the same table experts from public institutions and civil society, as well as representatives of parents and children.

That is why I am confident that the draft is a very good one and will be a success.

It was one of the amplest participatory construction processes, coordinated at the Government level, and what seems genuinely important is the fact that children, the beneficiaries of the measures proposed, have been actively involved in this process.

I have said several times that the health of Romanians is a priority, and this program attaches special attention to the psycho-emotional health of children.

It is all the more important in the context we are in, the pandemic, the restrictions, the isolation, all these have affected the little ones, and the effects can extend in the medium and long term, which is why the program comes at a more than appropriate time: children will have access to free psychological services where needed.

On the other hand, specialists and parents will have access to training and resources to manage the psycho-emotional needs of children.

I would like to point out that the program includes not only measures related to increasing the resilience of children, but also to increasing the capacity to intervene in cases of violence against children.

We will have the latest solutions to fight online crime against children.

Out of care for children, Romania will have a high-performance computer system, with cyber forensics programs for analyzing, sorting, profiling and decrypting abusive online materials.

I think this dimension of the draft is very important, given that more and more children are familiar with the online environment, children must always be protected, everywhere.

As I have said at the beginning, you can find out more details about this program from my colleague, State Advisor, Mădălina Turza.



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