More than 75,000 Romanian children have one or both parents working abroad
A total of 75,136 children in Romania had at least one parent working abroad at the end of 2020, according to official statistics quoted by the Save the Children Romania organization. This figure includes only children in the records of public social services.
According to the same source, more than 22,600 children had both parents working in another country or came from families where the single parent went abroad.
The figures were presented on Tuesday, May 18, during a debate organized by Save the Children Romania in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. The conference focused on the social protection of children with parents working abroad, a social phenomenon of the last 30 years in Romania.
“One out of three children with parents working abroad is deprived of parental care due to the departure of either the only supportive parent or both. Another sad reality is that the phenomenon of parents leaving their children is the highest in the poorest counties in Romania,” labour minister Raluca Turcan said.
“It is clear that we can no longer delay changing the public policies so as to switch their focus on real support for vulnerable people. The only way we can help them is to come up with integrated social services because many of these children need to be supported not only psychologically but guided to find a way in life; they need psychological support, educational counselling, later employment counselling, but also medical and social services,” she added.
According to the analysis conducted by Save the Children at the beginning of May 2021, out of a sample of 700 children whose parents are abroad, 4% have parents who have been away for less than a year, 32% for a period between one and three years, 37% for a period of four to six years, 18% for seven to nine years, and 9% for more than 10 years.
According to Save the Children, the pandemic made it more difficult for children and parents to see each other. Before the health crisis, 2% of parents returned to the country once every two years or less, 32% once a year, 29% twice a year, and only 20% three times a year or more. At the same time, 7% mentioned a different situation, most of the time related to breaking the connection with the children left in the country. As of March 2020, for 46% of parents, the frequency of returns to the country was lower.
Parents working abroad communicate daily with 26% of children, two/three times a week with 36% of children, weekly in 23% of cases, once every two weeks in 4% of cases, monthly in 5% of cases, less than once a month with 3% of children, and not at all in 5% of cases. More than half of children talk to their parents on the phone, 19% use a computer or a tablet, and 24% use both options.
Save the Children Romania launched a public information and awareness campaign on the harmful effects of this phenomenon. In addition, the organization also said it would expand to five more counties its efforts to protect children with parents working abroad, to include a total of 18 counties.
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