The majority of children placed in institutions have biological or extended families
82% of the children placed in residential establishments in Moldova have biological or extended families. Over 10 thousand of 11 544 children placed in boarding schools and orphanages have one or both parents alive. Only 315 of all institutionalised children are orphans, 413 have parents declared missing, 785 have parents working abroad, while the parents of 73 children were denied their parental rights. These are the findings of a survey of 67 residential establishments in Moldova, conducted by a group of independent professionals, within the project “Development of social services for vulnerable families and children at risk”. Data of the study shows that 13% of the institutionalised children go home on a daily basis, while 20% go home on a weekly basis. Parents prefer to have their children in boarding schools where they are fed free of charge, do not pay for textbooks, receive clothing and have a long study programme. According to the national expert of the project, Irina Malanciuc, thanks to the efforts of the professionals’ team, from the beginning of the year, the situation of 1343 children was evaluated in 7 boarding schools, while 257 of these returned to their families. Moreover, the institutionalisation of 216 children was prevented through given support for families depending on each particular case: counselling, employment, regulating acts for collection of social allocations, etc. In the case of children who cannot return to their family, social workers look for alternatives, such as the placement with relatives, or family-type orphanages. The project “Development of social services for vulnerable families and children at risk” is developed by UNICEF and the European Union and comes to support the Government of Moldova in the accomplishment of the Residential System of Child Care for 2007-2012. Through this reform, the Government aims to reorganise residential institutions and to reduce by 2012 the number of children living outside their families by 50%.