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06 July 12
We are delighted to announce the closure of the Sarata Noua Institution, the first specialised institution for children with learning difficulties we have closed in Moldova.
We have been working with the Government and Leova county local authorities on our pioneering project in Moldova, demonstrating for the first time in the country that children with learning difficulties can be successfully reintegrated into their communities.
The institution had been ‘home’ to 114 children, drawn from a wide area of six different counties and with a range of special needs. As is the case in many of the places we work, the institution had been seen as an easy solution to a complex problem, where a lack of specialist services and expertise often means it is difficult to support children in families or in the community. However, thanks to our work with the local authorities to train professionals in the community, secure places for children in mainstream schools and establish family-based alternative care, all of the children from the Sarata Noua Institution have moved into family environments.
Of the 114 children in Sarata Noua, 107 were returned home to live with their immediate or extended families while the others were placed in foster care, family type homes or supported to live independently.
Until last year, it was common practice in Moldova to label children with even mild learning difficulties and separate them from their families, isolating them in remote institutions where they would receive ‘special education’.
Last year however, the Moldovan Government approved the Inclusive Education National Programme which requires schools to provide inclusive education for all children, including those with learning difficulties. However, a lack of understanding among childcare professionals and decision makers has meant that, in practice, implementation of the policy has been inconsistent. This closure is the first evidence of how this policy can be put into practice and make family life a reality for children in Moldova.
Read more about our work in Moldova.
When we began work in Romania in 1999 there were 100,000 children trapped in institutional care. Today the figure is approximately 9,000 and the Romanian Government has committed to working with us to close every state run institution by 2020.
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