SRSG Maalla M'jid in Romania: Increased investment in child protection and violence prevention across all services - high returns and long-term cost savings

Bucharest, Romania 20 May 2022 - In her first official visit to Romania, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, commended the Government for the important steps taken to end and prevent violence against children.

“Romania has established a solid legal framework and has been taking important measures to end and prevent violence against children including critical progress towards implementation of alternatives to institutionalization.” said the Special Representative at the end of the four-day visit.

During her visit, SRSR Maalla M’jid met various high-level government representatives from Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities, the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, the Ministries of Education, Health and Finances, representatives from the Ombudsperson, NGOs, the United Nations agencies working in the country, as well as children and youth representatives. She congratulated the Romanian authorities for the recent launch in public debate of the National Strategy for the Protection of Child Rights 2022-2027, that is in line with International and European Union standards.

“The Resilience and Recovery plan as well as the steps taken to implement the European Child Guarantee are essential to ensure care, protection, wellbeing services children from all children, including poor and vulnerable groups in need. The effective implementation of the solid legal and policy framework as well as the optimization of resources, remains a main challenge to continue widening the full prevention and protection of children from all forms of violence in all settings, including domestic violence, gender-based violence, early marriage, bullying, corporal punishment, trafficking, sexual exploitation.” added SRSG Maalla M’jid.

The Special Representative highlighted the importance of early identification, protection and care of children living in poor and rural areas, children with disabilities, children on the move, minorities including special attention to Roma children and to children in alternative care, critical attention to mental health, are essential for sustained durable solutions and called for steady investment in child protection.

“Cash and Care are two essential sides of the same coin to respond to the complex and multidimensional nature of violence. A minimum package of services should be considered as a key investment not as just expenditure which brings back huge returns for the individuals and for the entire society.

 A renewed regard to results and performance-based budgeting is very much necessary for children to touch in their daily realities the progress made in the legal and policy frameworks. “said Dr. Maalla M’jid.

The Special Representative visited projects/services sites in Iasi targeting vulnerable children from Romania and children from Ukraine, unaccompanied or accompanied by caregivers, and discuss with support teams and children.

“The comprehensive response to the situation of refugees in particular children from institutions in Ukraine is remarkable.” concluded Dr. Maalla M’jid at the end of the visit.