It’s always the secret visits to institutions that reveal….

Much has been written about the nature of the progress made by Romania in recent years with respect to its “unwanted” children and adults…Of course, the grotesque orphanages made famous twenty years ago have largely been closed; there have undoubtedly been improvements in child welfare. But in Romania, as elsewhere, we continue to learn–sporadically–of institutions where children and adults continue to be warehoused….See this latest from the BBC–based once again on the hidden camera approach…

The story reads in part:

“The Romanian government had promised it had dealt with its notorious institutions as part of its conditions for joining the European Union. The only way we could witness the reality of conditions in adult institutions was to pose as charity workers, and secretly film our findings.

The Carpenis institution is just 32km (20 miles) from the capital Bucharest, the heartbeat of the country’s growing economy. In the main squares, neon lights advertise the biggest Western brands; shopping centres are bursting with families spending new money on Christmas gifts. It is a measure of how far Romania has come since the fall of its dictator Nicolai Ceausescu who bankrupted the country. But not everyone has seen change in the last 20 years.

In Bolintin, another village close to the capital, a lone nurse and six helpers take care of more than 100 patients – they are not sure exactly how many. They were wrapped in blankets and thermal jackets to escape the freezing cold.


Picture from secret filming at one of the institutions
Signs of gangrene were evident at one institution in Bolintin

In a wooden cabin, separate from the main building, we found 15 severely disabled people slumped on uncomfortable chairs. The nurse insisted they were at least 20 years old, but their tiny faces and bodies suggested they were much younger…..”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see an honest accounting of the true situation in Romania generally–the newly expanded foster care system–is that working as its proponents claim?? After shutting down international adoption, how many Romania children have lost chances for family life? It is an extraordinary fact that the EU allowed Baroness Emma Nicholson to dominate the discussion around Romania adoption for so long….I call again and again for impartial, neutral observers and more comprehensive reporting–The EU succumbed to the need to present Romania as “modernizing” and “improving” in all respects–as a function of the EU’s need to demonstrate its latest entrant country as a “model” for child welfare policies….

What is the child abandonment rate in Romania these days?  One doesn’t really know.


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