"CASA PISTRUIATUL" Street Children Refuge – Services for children and families in need – 1998 - 2008

The project offered complex services (social, psychological, health, legal and educational) for the street children and young people at risk of family abandon, to improve their image in the community and facilitate a healthy social and family reinsertion. For 16 children each year and for 471 children since its opening, "Pistruiatul" was "home" – the place where they were welcomed by a hearty team of professionals who acted as parents and gave all the support. 

Beneficiares:

  • Street children and young people

  • Marginalised families at risk.

 

The project had two components for children in difficulties and one for disadvantaged families:

  • Day Centre: services for children from families at risk: homework support, lunch, various recreational clubs (dance, music, arts, computers etc).
  • Residential Care – a complex range of services for street children sheltered here: social and psychological assessment, educational support, health care, life skills training.
  • Support for disadvantaged families – services consisting of material support, counselling and support to keep the children in the family.

The project “Casa Pistruiatul” was taken over at the end of 2008 by the County Social Services Directorate Bacau.

In the 10 years, "Casa Pistruiatul" represented the only refuge to street children in Bacau and even in the Moldova region

The main indicators of the activity during this decade are:

  • 471 children lived here for various lengths of time;
  • Emergency intervention was given for 102 street young people (over 12 years old), who refused residential admission;
  • Over 200 disadvantaged children attended the Day Centre;
  • Over 150 families received counselling social care and facilitating employment;
  • Over 800 children identified were assisted by the outreach team;
  • We drafted 3 studies on the Street Children Phenomenon
  • From 2001 to 2008 there were two campaigns each year to prevent child begging and awareness raising on the subject.
 
 

Comment and legacy

Throughout time, the "Casa Pistruiatul" housed over 470 children who transited the centre in its 10 years. However, it was not always enough to change the lives of many of the residents, despite efforts from the specialists and staff.

There are multiple causes for this, be it the long time spent on the streets and therefore their inability to readjust to rules and schedules, be it addictions which clouded their judgement. Sadly, many young people could not reintegrate in their birth or extended families and “chose” the street again.

Vasilica T

Such a story is Vasilica T., admitted towards end of 2000, aged 11. He remained in the centre until 2006. All this time, the staff tried to integrate him in school, where he seemed to achieve well. He received intensive counselling from our local and UK specialists.

Because of his disruptive behaviour and because he was finding it very hard to abide by the rules of the refuge, he was referred to another project ‘Protected Dwellings for Homeless Young People’ where he lived in a rented flat and received support to meet the costs of utilities for a set period. This was not very successful, and unfortunately he refused any form of protection and support and he went back to live on the street.

During the following years he started committing thefts and robberies and he ended up in prison.

Anca M

Anca is one of the few success stories of the refuge. She was taken from the street, where she was begging with one of her brothers. She came from a family of 11 children, where there was very little interest in the children apart from what they could bring home after a day’s begging.

The staff helped her settle in, go back to school, in the first year of school, though she had missed a couple of years, and overcome the difficult behaviour which was inherent to children who knew the life of the street.

Fortunately, her stay was not too long, she was there for less than a year in 2001 and she was placed with a foster family. Even more fortunately, she remained in this placement ever since, and the family kept her even after the law changed and they could no longer work as foster carers. She is now in the last year of high school, has very good school achievements and has a good relationship worth her foster family.

Anca receives a scholarship from FSC, and frequently comes to do activities in the workshops, enjoying helping as she has been helped. It is a pleasure to see how good this intervention turned out, and that her life would not have been the same without us.

There is more than just boy who went back to the street despite years of involvement from the staff; young women who took to prostitution or to give birth to other generations of street children.

Following a thorough analysis, FSC identified a significant need to initiate prevention projects as one of the most opportune solutions to diminish this social phenomenon. It is far better and easier to prevent, the costs are smaller and the benefits greater.

 

Fundatia de Sprijin Comunitar