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Moldovan ‘orphans’ return home

28 November 2014

by a staff reporter

Waiting for new homes: children in their dormitory at the Ciadir Lunga Home in Moldova

Waiting for new homes: children in their dormitory at the Ciadir Lunga Home in Moldova

TWO-THIRDS of children in state-run orphanages in Moldova have now been found homes. Most have returned to their families, who are given additional support to look after them under attempts by the government to improve its social-care system.

Seven years ago, more than 12,000 children were in state-run orphanages and boarding schools in Moldova, which is the poorest country in Europe. But Moldova has been closing these after signing an association agreement with the EU. This includes a stronger emphasis on reducing institutional care. About 4000 children now remain in institutions.

Most children in Moldovan institutions are not even orphans. A report from UNICEF says that 98 per cent of children in state-run institutions have families, but poverty, lack of support, and an outdated reliance on state care keeps them apart.

The Christian charity Mission Without Borders has been supporting families when children are returned from state care.

The charity's national manager in the UK, Carly Jones, said: "The closure of children's homes means it is now more important than ever that we ensure we're able to meet the needs of families. There are many issues facing Moldovan families, including long-term unemployment, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence. Alongside government initiatives and other NGOs, we're working closely with families to ensure children grow up in a loving, safe, and secure environment."

At the beginning of 2013, there were about 4889 children in residential institutions in Moldova. During 2013, closure of homes resulted in the removal of 290 or so children from state care.

Mission Without Borders runs summer camps and clubs for children, and provides food, clothing, and other essentials to families in difficulty.

Children who have no homes to return to are being moved to smaller group homes, foster homes, or shelters.

The charity runs a family-sponsorship scheme to help families who are taking back children from state care.

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