STREET CHILDREN’S PROJECT "CASA PISTRUIATUL"

This is a report by our long serving Director of Programmes, Julia Smyth, who retired a few years ago but in late 2013 kindly agreed to visit the projects in Romania - most of which she had set up - and report on their progress.

History

The Street Children’s shelter/refuge Casa Pistruiatul was opened in Bacau in 1998. It was closed ten years later in 2008 when services were taken over by Bacau City Council. Before the handover and closure, FSC staff worked with County Social Workers in the Outreach Work on the streets. I worked alongside these teams during Project Reviews of the early 2000’s and the collaboration was very good. I felt then that the caring and concerned approach of the FSC staff had a positive influence on state employees who had been accustomed to working under a more rigid system.

Statistics

The attached Activities and Beneficiary graphs show that beneficiary numbers grew from 16 children in 1998 to 123 in 2008. 471 children lived at Casa Pistruiatul for various lengths of time during it’s operation. The total cost of the project over ten years was £481,708 representing 5.96% of FSC’s expenditure 1997 - 2012.

Legacy

FSC staff worked with the County staff in outreach work on the streets for 2 years after the refuge was closed and there is still good collaboration with the County Services.

Lenuta Nastac and Gabriel Ungureanu are still in contact with about 25 former children and they provide:

  • Counselling and support
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Help with the children of the former street children who tend to be sent out begging
  • Referrals to the Bacau refuge
  • Prison visits

Sadly, the success rate has not been high. FSC’s pragmatic estimate of children who had a happy and successful outcome is around 10%. Three children were sent to Gasteni, I met one of them during my visit there. I could not tell much but she was surrounded by affectionate friends and looked happy.

  • Lovely Vasilica T who was a RFFR “poster boy success story” (poster attached) returned to the streets after years of support.

  • He is now in prison. His sad story is attached together with a happier ending for a girl called Anca M.

Conclusion

Because of the low eventual success rate of these children, FSC now focus on early intervention with poor families and children at the Mosaic Centre and in the successful "Glue Clubs" and school scholarships support programmes. It would seem that FSC have done everything possible to follow-up and support the children who were in their care. They had a beneficial influence on the quality and compassion of state service staff. Outcomes: the numbers of children helped are in the attached FSC project summary.

 

Julia Smyth
10 October 2013

 

Also see this recent report by FSC on "CASA PISTRUIATUL" Street Children Refuge – Services for children and families in need – 1998 - 2008