In 1990, disturbing television footage emerged showing the inhumane conditions in which children in Romanian institutions were living, and viewers were surprised that the babies were silent. The so-called ‘Romanian orphans’ became subjects of several international research studies. In parallel, Romania had to reform its child protection system in order to become a member of the European Union.
This book sheds light on the lived experiences of these children, who had become adults by the time the country joined the EU. Uniquely, the book brings together the accounts of those who stayed in institutions, those who grew up in foster care and those who were adopted, both in Romania and internationally. Their narratives challenge stereotypes about these types of care.
“The rich detail Neagu presents of institutional and foster care and domestic and intercountry adoption, highlighting the importance of personal relationships and identity, provides a compelling basis for evaluating those systems.” John Eekelaar, Pembroke College, Oxford
"This book demonstrates powerfully how badly wrong things can go when children's rights are ignored, and the importance of including children's views and experiences in planning policies for them.” Virginia Morrow, University College London
"With powerful stories from her own Romania, Mariela Neagu highlights how quality rather than type of care matters most in achieving the best for children living apart from their families." Robert Gilligan, Trinity College Dublin
Mariela Neagu is a researcher in the Rees Centre at the University of Oxford.
Romania: what underlay the orphan crisis
Where do children go when they can’t stay with their families?
Childhoods in care
Teen years in care and their ways out
Exploring life trajectories: what mattered to them
The benefit of hindsight: learning for policy and practice