4174.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - 2:30 PM

Abstract #17855

Child Well-being and Child Welfare Reform in Romania: Transition to Community

Ioan Stelian Bocsan, MD, PhD, Institute of Public Health; School of Medicine, Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 13, Emil Isac Street, RO-3400 Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 40-64-199891, isbocsan@ispcj.ro and Rebecca Davis, PhD, Child Welfare and Protection Project, World Vision International in Romania, Romania.

Romania's child welfare reform initiatives, begun in late 1997, provide parents faced with social, health, and economic problems in caring for children community alternatives to the institutionalization of children. After 3 years of reform significant and positive changes are occurring as Romania's child welfare systems transition to community-based, family focused models of care. This transition includes two parallel processes: deinstitutionalization (diversification of out-of-home models of care) and decentralization (devolution of responsibility to the local community level). There is an assumption in a decentralized system that community supports will mediate family stress, crisis, and dysfunction. In Romania, "community" was destroyed and needs to be rebuilt through community development initiatives. World Vision Romania's community development initiatives parallel child welfare reform efforts, and are in direct support of Romania's public child welfare reform initiatives. But infrastructure alone cannot insure quality of programs and services that contribute to child well-being. Empirical documentation that community, family-based models, in-fact, contribute to improved child well-being need to be provided. This presentation will provide the results of a study by World Vision Romania of young children (ages 0-3) in the various forms of care in the child protection system (institutional, family, and foster family care) in Cluj County on a variety of child well-being indicators (health and social) and compare this to a sample of children in the general population with similar socioeconomic status. Measures of community involvement and support will provide descriptive information about the environmental context of family childcare.

Learning Objectives: 1. Describe components of child welfare reform and community development initiatives which are part of Romania's transition to community child care models 2. Discuss the comparative data provided about child well-being in institutional care versus family care. 3. Evaluate the specific study design which uses measures developed in the US and applied to child well-being and community suppport in Eastern Europe

Keywords: Human Rights, Children

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA