For about 30 children, street is their home

There are boys and girls for whom the street is their house, the place where they try to survive in the absence of appropriate supervision. This is a phenomenon that didn’t bypass the Republic of Moldova either. Ombudswoman for children’s rights Maia Bănărescu, in an interview for IPN, said that this is possibly one of the most serious problems related to the observance of human rights. After serving as an ombudswoman for four years, she ascertained that society somehow got used to the presence of minors on the street. There are about 30 children on the streets of Chisinau and they come from different localities of Moldova. The measures taken by the authorities in this regard are usually short-term ones.

The ombudswoman said the gravity of the problem derives from the fact that a large part of the street children take drugs. Owing to the deviant behavior and the environment with which they interact, they become potential delinquents or even offenders. The minors abandon home not only because they come from socially-deprived families or families that face financial problems. They also leave when the parents fail to ensure proper education. They leave if there is violence, if they are not understood by the family members and thus try to find this understanding on the street. The children who are not supported in the community or at school can also abandon home. It is also the teachers’, the psychologists’ role to identify these children and help them, work with them.

Maia Bănărescu noted the tutelage authorities should work in the family, should create a favorable environment so that the child does not want to leave home. It was established that most of the times, work with families that yield street children is not done at the level of the local public authorities. In particular cases, the children living on the street are from placement centers or other social services. The residential institutions that remained are not child-friendly. There are children who want this freedom offered by the street.

A number of international models were tested to fight this phenomenon. The creation of the Street Assistance Service in Chisinau, were there are most of the street children, is an accomplishment. The children can go there to take a shower, to change their clothes, to have a meal and to take part in different activities. The problem is that this service is a day one and the children in the evening return to the street.

According to the ombudswoman, it is not enough to build or open a center. There should be a well-trained team with specialists who know to become friends with children. The measures to take the street children home or back to the placement center are not enough. As a rule, they are efficient during a short period of time and the child ultimately returns to the street. During the pandemic, a number of street children were placed at the institution run by an NGO. In three weeks, they vandalized that institution, stole things from there and ran away. The approaches to these children and how those in charge manage to motivate them to abandon the street count a lot.

The interview titled “June 1, International Children’s Day. Children have their rights” forms part of IPN’s project “Injustice Revealed through Multimedia”.

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