More than 100,000 children left in Romania while parents work abroad, ombudsman says

Foto: INQUAM/Octav Ganea

Tens of thousands of Romanian children have no parents at home because they are working abroad, a situation an official called „horrifying” on Friday.

Romania’s ombudsman Renate Weber said it was „a serious situation,” referring to a recent study on children who have effectively been abandoned by their parents.

Millions of Romanians left the country after communism collapsed to find better-paid jobs, mostly in Western Europe. Some Romanians settled abroad and brought their children with them. But others left them at home with grandparents or other relatives.

„We are talking about more than 100,000 children, but nobody knows how many there are,” she said.

The ombudsman made her comments Friday as she presented the findings of a national study about the phenomenon.

”This is a situation we consider serious, children whose parents are abroad working. Officially there are 75,00 children left at home. In reality, that is not the  real number.”

„We believe it is much higher than 100,000, but we don’t know how high it is which is horrifying. We are talking about tens of thousands of children who aren’t being looked after by anyone.”

Parents and guardians are supposed to notify local authorities about children they are leaving behind when they go abroad to work. In reality, some parents leave their children with their grandparents or other relatives and don’t inform the local council or child welfare authorities.

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