ACTIVITIES IN ROMANIA
HOUSE OF SMILES PROJECT
BiR is involved in three residential facilities for children and young people aged between 3 and 21, where it provides educational and psychological support and academic and career guidance services. All facilities are co-funded and run by the Inima Pentru Inima Foundation.
The “Houses of Smiles” are located in the Vâlcea district.
1) CASA RAFFAELLA, GORANU Casa Raffaella is a residential facility located in the Goranu district of Râmnicu Vâlcea. It houses boys and girls aged between 6 and 14 from institutes for children who have been abandoned or are separated from their families as a result of youth court rulings or special decisions of the Commission for the Protection of Minors. A multidisciplinary team of youth support workers, social workers and psychologists provides the conditions for their protection and serenity. They are also involved in their individual growth paths and, where possible, facilitate their reintegration into their families. The Casa Raffaella project was started in 2014 thanks to the contribution of the Waldensian Church’s Tavola Valdese www.ottopermillevaldese.org
2) SOCIAL HOUSING BiR works with the Social and Professional Inclusion Service of Râmnicu Vâlcea, providing support for young people from low or no income families in further and higher education. The project has a residential component (social housing) and an external component (support during further/higher education). Young people aged between 14 and 21 stay in apartments with a youth worker, a social worker and a psychologist. The same scheme also gives support to female university students residing in student accommodation in Bucharest and Braşov. The programme covers all costs for accommodation, meals, study materials and medical care, as well as ensuring regular meetings with the support staff. The team from the Inima Pentru Inima Foundation also works closely with other specialists at local institutions and organisations, beginning with schools, to strengthen the support networks of the young people involved in the various initiatives.
3) COPACELU HOUSE The Copacelu Centre for Socialization and Family Reintegration is a family-style residential facility for children aged between 2 and 10 who have been removed from their families as a result of youth court rulings or special decisions of the District Commission for the Protection of Minors.
PREVENTION OF CHILD ABANDONMENT
In 2013, BiR continued its collaborative support work with the DGASPC Mehedinţi agency, with several significant changes from previous years. First, we were able to stop funding the child abandonment prevention programme in the maternity ward of Turnu Severin hospital. The positive outcome of this scheme co-funded by BiR in recent years was the hiring of two psychologists to provide support to new mothers to prevent child abandonment. Second, thanks to the contributions of our founding partner Guido Artom, we were donated an off-road car. The vehicle was requested by management to be able to get to the difficult-to-reach hilly areas of the district during the winter months. Third, project management staff placed more emphasis on the autonomy and empowerment of families in need, the reinforcement of their skills, psychological support and social and career guidance, rather than making a financial contribution only. The number of cases supported financially thus decreased during the year to a total of 74 children and their 35 families, and 59 women who received support for family planning. Support ended for 15 minors because it was seen that they were no longer at risk of abandonment. 2,006 children and their families were supported from 2004 to 2013.
1) DGASPC MEHEDINTI Social workers in the Mehedinţi district provide support to families living in precarious conditions that could jeopardise the well-being of the entire family and be cause for the child’s removal (monthly financial contribution, extraordinary expenses, guidance and support) . The prevention of child abandonment and social assistance services of the DGASPC have undergone significant changes over the years.First, the end of our funding for the child abandonment prevention project at the maternity ward of Turnu Severin hospital. The positive outcome of this scheme co-funded by BiR in recent years was the hiring of two psychologists to provide support to new mothers to prevent child abandonment Second, an SUV donated to the mission management to enable them to get to the difficult-to-reach hilly areas of the district during the winter months. Finally, project management staff placed more emphasis on the autonomy and empowerment of families in need, the reinforcement of their skills, psychological support and social and career guidance, rather than making a financial contribution only. 2,177 children and their families were given support from 2004 to 2014.
2) PREVENTION OF CHILD ABANDONMENT IN BRASOV This initiative takes place at the Braşov Children’s Hospital. A social worker from Inima Pentru Inima works alongside doctors, midwives and nurses to support women and families in need and prevent the abandonment of newborns. After a preliminary interview, a personalised programme is mapped out providing information and training, access to local services, pre- and post-natal counselling for individuals and groups, monitoring after the return home, material support (milk, nappies/diapers, clothes, etc.) for mothers and newborns. In 10 years of the Braşov Prevention Centre from 2004 to 2014, staff from the Inima Pentru Inima Foundation have been involved in a total of 1,893 cases, preventing abandonment in 80% of cases.
3) OCNELE MARI DAY CENTRE Ocnele Mari Day Centre provides support to children aged 6 to 14, who have been de-institutionalised or are from families experiencing social and financial hardship. During the year, youngsters leaving the support programme make way for new beneficiaries. The Day Centre operates Monday to Friday from 12 to 6 pm and receives boys and girls after school, providing them with lunch and snacks, help with their homework and lots of play and creative activities. At the same time, Inima Pentru Inima works with their families, giving them support for their social and economic reintegration and their parenting skills. Group meetings are held at the Centre and home visits are also made. Ocnele Mari has a multidisciplinary team made up of the Centre coordinator, a youth worker, a social worker and a psychologist, as well a cook and a driver.