Disabled children living in Romania’s state shelters are still the victims of a malfunctioning child care system. Poorly prepared personnel are working with the children and many institutions do not comply with minimum compulsory terms for such services, sounds a newly released report prepared by UNICEF and the Center of Judicial Resources in Bucharest.

The report, covering the period of 2005-2006, brings many bad news. It shows the physical state of state shelters for disabled children vary from one community to another and from one’s capacity to absorb funds and donations to another’s.

More than two thirds of such institutions visited by representatives of the two organizations provide hosting conditions below minimum standards. And there were cases where one such complex served for both intellectually disabled children and healthy ones - but the section reserved for the former was lacking the facilities of the latter’s section.

And irregularities are all over the place: some centers rationalize water as managers claim there’s little money to spend; methods of isolating children in visited institutions did not respect international standards or the national legislation and provided “inhuman and degrading” treatment; and acceptance of children in such shelters is accomplished outside the legal framework in many cases.

The research shows over 400 under-aged people, many of them teenagers, were hospitalized in psychiatric centers at the request of child placement centers over the past two years. None of them was informed about their possibility to notify competent judicial bodies about their non-voluntary hospitalization or other rights.