Romania and Malta selected for Childonomics case studies

The two countries showed a strong political interest in child and families policies

Childonomics – A project that aims to measure the long-term social and economic value of investing in children has identified two crucial partners to apply its economic model. Country case studies are being developed in partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and Elderly, Romania and the Ministry for Welfare, Family and Social Solidarity, Malta.

Why Romania and Malta?

Romania and Malta have been selected as partner countries for Childonomics because of recently introduced reforms and a strong political interest in child and families policies.  

Malta is prioritizing foster care as an alternative to residential care and investing in community level services. They have also increased investment in child care provision, are promoting social justice and equity in the education system with a particular focus on inclusive education.  

Romania currently has an interim government which has put poverty reduction high on the political agenda.  They are rolling out a programme of offering food coupons to eligible families to encourage them to bring their children to kindergartens. There is a strong emphasis on prevention and early intervention.  

Furthermore Romania has already gone through a significant transformation of its child protection system over the last 15 years. In 2000 there were 100,000 children in care, predominantly in large-scale institutions. At the end of 2014, there were 58,178 children officially in state care, of which 8892 were in institutional care. The child protection system is now more diversified, offering a range of family-based services to children unable to live with their parents and support services for vulnerable families.

Both countries want to build a stronger evidence base to support their policy and spending choices, and have therefore expressed an interest to participate in Childonomics.

What to expect from Childonomics? 

Using economic modelling the project will measure the costs of different child welfare and protection systems against expected outcomes for children, families and society as a whole. 

Particular attention is given to preventing children being separated from their families, supporting their reintegration and reducing reliance on institutional care. 

The project aims to build robust economic evidence that supports implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Guidelines on Alternative Care, the EU Guidelines on the transition from institutional to community-based services, and the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children – Breaking the cycle of disadvantage.

Eurochild is the coordinating organisation for this project, which is funded by the Oak Foundation. Oxford Policy Management Ltd has been enlisted to lead on the methodology including the economic modelling in association with CEE/CIS Consultancy Group and the International Foster Care Organisation. 

More reading material: 

EPIC country profile on Romania

EPIC country profile on Malta