Statements and Articles

The Family as a Social Driver for Development

Speaker: H.E. Ambassador Simona Miculescu
Date: February 20th, 2014

The Family as a Social Driver for Development
February 20th, 2014

Mr. Moderator, 
It is a pleasure to be here to discuss an important theme for our societies, in such a distinguished company. I would like to thank the organizers from inviting me to present some of Romania’s family policies. Giving the time, I would like to focus today on the support provided to families in raising the young generation.
For millennia, the family meant everything: a primary source of civilization, stability over time and hope for the future. Family has always been fundamental for the development of the child. 
As we cannot imagine our future without children, how would a child’s future look like without the protection, caring and love of a family? 
Allow me to recall that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes that the child should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality.
My country recognizes the preeminent role of the family as the natural, caring and safe environment in which a child grows and develops. Within the family, the child builds a sense of identity. A positive and consistent relation with the parents, who succeed in fulfilling his or her needs, is conducive for a child to get a trust of the inner self, to know and understand his or her development, to become autonomous. This autonomy makes the child a master of his or her destiny and personality.
Family also represents the first environment where the child experiences relations. In his or her turn, the child develops further relations starting from models seen in the family. Therefore, the child needs stable emotional links, a sense of non conditional belonging to a group of persons (essentially the family), a safe habitat to allow him or her positive life experiences.
In Romania, by family we first understand the parents. The extended family has a very important role in the child’s life, traditionally including grandparents and relatives up to the fourth degree. The extended family is the main support network for parents as well. The grandparents can be of real help for parents in caring for children. In many cases, they represent the main resource for the prevention of separation from the family.
Ladies and gentlemen, 
The Romanian Government values the central role of the family in caring and raising a child. As such, Romania places the family at the center of all policies. The authorities provide support so to avoid child separation from family, when the family by itself cannot provide adequate conditions for the child development. The stability of the family environment is also a priority.
In Romania, the family policies target the whole family, with a view to offer  family support, increase of the level of welfare for its members, consolidation of the family relations and support for the parents in bringing up and caring of children. The main long term purpose of these policies is linked to the benefits from the subsequent integration of the youth in society and at community level. 
Romanian legal framework includes provisions foreseeing education for family life, family planning, parental education (including paternal education), fostering the engagement of fathers in bringing up and caring of children. It also establishes measures aimed at preventing the child separation from family, avoiding institutionalization, fostering parents’ participation in child’s education, preventing child abuse as well as developing after school programs.   
We all know that national policies and strategies should target the development of integrated community services to support bringing up and caring of children within the family, while facilitating the advancement of mechanisms to support parents to ensure reconciliation between family and professional life. 
From this perspective, our National Strategy on Child Protection for 2014-2020 was launched for public debate a few weeks ago. The Strategy places a particular importance on the reconciliation of the family and professional life. It therefore promotes clear quality standards for the daycare services for children.
Maintaining family functions, preventing abandonment and keeping family cohesion have been, over the time, priorities for intervention in order to empower the families with children to overcome risk situations. 
In this context, Romania offers various programs concerning families with children, such as:

  • Paternity leave, which is granted to fathers for a period of 5 working days, in the first 8 weeks after the child’s birth. 
  • Parental leave and child raising allowance are regulated as optional measures available to parents for raising the child up to 1 year, 2 years or, respectively, 3 years in case of children with disability. 
  • Family support allowance – based on testing family incomes and assets, it is granted to the low income families with children.
  • State allowance for children - targeting all children up to 18, but also young people over 18, until graduating higher education or vocational training they are attending.
  • Allowances and benefits for a disabled child and for disabled persons caring for children. 
  • Monthly placement allowance – granted to those who were allowed to take a child in placement.
  • Crèche vouchers - provided by employers to the employees who do not receive parental leave and allowance.
  • Programs for children in schools - providing school meal, fruits, supplies, social grants, scholarships and merit scholarships, programs targeting the development of early education or after-school services.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Taking into consideration the need to update and refine the Millennium Development Goals, in line with the new challenges, and to integrate them in the post-2015 Agenda, we attach a major importance to the objective of preventing and combating poverty as well as the transmission of multiple disadvantages between generations. For breaking the cycle of poverty, we need, therefore, to ensure optimal conditions for the development and welfare of children as future global resource.
We consider that, in a world where all types of social relations change in an accelerated rhythm, the family cannot remain unchanged. But, no model of family organization can be absolute. As such, the family should adapt to provide the best for its children development. Thus we strongly believe that to facilitate this development is an investment in our future.
Thank you.

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