Romania has the largest number of abandoned children in the European Union. The number of children in the care of the child protection system is over 60,000. Of these 60,000 institutionalised children, only 3,000 are adoptable. The number of applications for adoption is 1,700.
Every child in foster care costs the state between 500 € and 700 € a month, while the allocation for a child placed with a relative or other families is 150 €, and this while the allocation for all other children is 20 €. Although many institutionalised children enjoy far better material conditions than those enjoyed by other children, a lack of a sense of belonging, emotional insecurity and a lack of family support lead to psychological trauma with serious consequences in the long term. Their future social integration becomes doubtful after spending a long period of time as the “source of income” in families who receive the equivalent of at least one national minimum wage for the care they provide.
With almost 20% of children reported as having disabilities, the question arises as to whether recovery from these disabilities would not have been easier had they been identified earlier, or if the children had been living in a family environment from birth or had benefitted from ongoing therapy.
— What way of thinking makes this kind of situation possible?
— Why there are so few adoptable children?
— Why are so few people willing to adopt?
— Why do so many children live in care until the age of 18 or 26?
— What policies lead to this type of discrimination?
— Why do we need such excessive bureaucracy, which only makes adoption more difficult and turns the abandoned child into a kind of property of the state?
— How much of this is caused by poverty and how much by the hypocrisy of a society that calls itself Christian?
— What mental and physical developmental delays do abandoned children suffer from?
— What is the role of the immediate family and the extended family in cases of abandonment and adoption?
— How do we accept responsibility in the relationship between my child and our child in cases of abandonment and adoption?
— What are the long term consequences of growing up in the care of the social services system?
These are just some of the questions we will try to answer during the conference.
The conference will be divided into the following sections: the legal framework, the social problems that occur when children grow up in the care of the state, economic analysis, psychological approaches to abandonment and adoption, the involvement of the Church (irrespective of denomination) in helping abandoned children and encouraging adoption, the image of the orphaned child and the “step parents” in literature, and the condition of the adopter.
Invitees of the conference include decision makers from government ministries and the world of politics, staff members of the directorate for social assistance and child protection, representatives of NGOs concerned with the plight of abandoned children and the adopting families, representatives of the Church of all denominations, representatives of religious orders, specialists in the fields of medicine, psychology, sociology, social care and law, members of civil society as well as anyone interested in the phenomenon of child abandonment and adoption, in general, and in Romania, in particular.
To register for the conference please send a short abstract of your presentation and a short CV by 10 March 2016 to: email@example.com.
The conference will take place at the Faculty of Roman-Catholic Theology – 19, General Berthelot Street, Bucharest. The participation fee is 30 €. A selection of the papers presented at the conference will be published. A limited amount of free accommodation is available at Hotel Academica in Bucharest.
Assoc Prof Dr Gabriela Blebea Nicolae
Facultatea de Teologie Romano-Catolica
Str. G-ral Berthelot 19