The diversification of social service providers to include state, NGO and private actors has been done in parallel to shifting part of the responsibility, decision-making in contracting and solution tailoring to the communities at local and county level, in line with EU reforms. This was possible due to the implementation of quality standards and standardisation of costs, mixed models of financing and consistent contribution in policy development by NGO networks. The system is still vulnerable as far as funding is concerned, tailored approaches and the quality of services in rural communities, but achievements so far give reason for optimism.
An integrated approach to social services has been developed in the last few years, in a bold attempt to fight the high numbers living in poverty almost 30 years after Ceausescu’s fall. While some fields have seen tremendous positive development, like the de-institutionalisation of children and developing a needs-based, tailor-made social services system, other sectors are still lagging behind: specialised support for victims of domestic violence or human trafficking (more is being done after Romania ratified the Istanbul Convention in 2016), housing services for the most deprived, or reintegration programs for prisoners and drug-addicts. Nonetheless, in terms of transferring Romanian know-how and expertise to other states, some of the most relevant developments concern examples of effective contracting of social services at county level, unified standards and cost procedures, various financing methods and coalitions of NGOs that pursue policy improvements and standards adaptation. The introduction of new professions has also contributed greatly to advancing this field. School and health mediators stand proof, best practice models that are already being implemented in other countries.
With substantive legacy of both positive and negative experiences, our experts are ready to share their know-how in social services to best help those in need.