Moldova Triples Child Protection Specialists

In a press conference, Alexei Buzu, the Minister of Labor and Social Protection, announced a significant expansion of child protection services in Moldova.

The number of child protection specialists will triple, increasing from the current total of 46 to 300 nationwide. This initiative aims to address the critical need for increased support and protection for vulnerable children.

"The shocking case earlier this year, where a child gave birth to another child, exposed the weaknesses within Moldova's child protection system," Buzu remarked. "There are far too many children at risk, and we must take decisive action to ensure their well-being. Reaching 300 specialists nationwide is the first step in this process."

According to the Ministry, there were approximately 20,000 children in at-risk situations at the end of 2023. The effectiveness of the current system in supporting these children remains unclear. To address this gap, a new case management information system will be implemented this year. This system will track all children identified as being at risk and will facilitate the development of individualised support plans to meet their specific needs.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, in collaboration with UNICEF, is providing substantial financial support of approximately 40 million lei. These funds will be used to directly assist roughly 15,000 children facing at-risk situations in Moldova.

"UNICEF is committed to supporting the recruitment and training of child protection specialists who will work at the community level," said Maha Damaj, the UNICEF representative in Moldova. UNICEF will also invest an additional three million dollars to bolster all child protection services, including family-based care and professional parental support for children separated from their families.

"Moldova's commitment to European Union integration necessitates a robust child protection system that adheres to European standards," Damaj continued. "We all have a role to play in strengthening this system to prevent vulnerable situations for both children and their families."

This initiative aligns with the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection's "Restart" reform program, launched in March 2023. This program aims to expand and improve social services, reduce staff turnover, and secure stable funding for essential social services through the state budget. The program is expected to be implemented over a three-year period.

Translation by Iurie Tataru

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