MINELRES: ERRC Conference Highlights Worrying Situation of Romani Children in the Hungarian Child Protection System

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon Dec 24 10:12:07 2007

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

ERRC Conference Highlights Worrying Situation of Romani Children in the
Hungarian Child Protection System 

Hungarian Romani Children Over-Represented in State Care 

Budapest, 17 December 2007: At a conference hosted in Budapest today,
the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) presented a report based on
research conducted in 2007 which indicates a disproportionate number of
children in state care in Hungary are of Romani background. The report,
“Dis-Interest of the Child: Romani Children in the Hungarian Child
Protection System”, explores concerns related to the over-representation
of Romani children in state care as well as the role of ethnic identity
in state care and adoption processes. It also covers the
disproportionate categorisation of Romani children in state care as
mentally disabled.

In Hungary’s 7 regions focus group discussions with professionals were
conducted by Hungarian experts Maria Herczog, Marian Nemenyi and Gabor
Havas. The ERRC conducted field research in three counties and several
Budapest districts and held in-depth interviews with children living in
children’s homes, professionals in child care and adoption and Romani
families whose children were under special protection. 

For this research 120 children living in Hungarian children’s homes were
interviewed by the European Roma Rights Centre. Children of Romani
background accounted for 58% of this group while Romani children account
for only 13% of the child population in Hungary. In some homes, even all
of the resident children were Romani.  

Independent researcher and ERRC consultant Maria Nemenyi highlighted
that subjective forms of neglect, including bad social and housing
conditions, which depend on interpretation of the assessor are more
commonly listed as reasons for the removal of Romani than non-Romani
children from their families. According to Maria Herczog, “Romani
children are less likely to be adopted because primarily non-Romani
adopters often do not want Romani children for different reasons.” A
disproportionate number of Romani children in state care have
additionally been categorised as mentally disabled which affects their
quality of education and their potential for adoption. The report points
out the need for serious attention by the Hungarian government to these

According to Tara Bedard of the ERRC and author of the report “The
reasons are many and multifaceted. The solutions are equally complex and
will require open minds and strong commitment by all actors involved to
initiate positive change for Romani children in state care.” Key ERRC
recommendations for action to be taken by the Hungarian government were
presented. They include legally empowering and training child protection
workers in the collection and handling of ethnically disaggregated data,
which will help to understand the full scope of the situation and the
need to strengthen actions for the prevention of endangerment of Romani
children. No child should be placed in short-term care without court
approval. Equally non-discrimination, equal opportunities and Romani
participation in the child care system were underlined.

The full text of the report is available on the ERRC web site. 

In English: http://www.errc.org/db/02/8F/m0000028F.pdf 

In Hungarian: http://www.errc.org/db/02/90/m00000290.pdf 

For further information, please contact:
Tara Bedard, ERRC Senior Projects Manager, tara.bedard@errc.org,
+36.1.413.2200 (English)
Monika Pacziga, ERRC Women’s Rights Officer, monika.pacziga@errc.org,
+36.1.413.2200 (English and Hungarian) 


The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and
provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more
information about the European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the
web at http://www.errc.org 

To support the ERRC, please visit this link:

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200

This message was sent using Endymion MailMan.
http://www.endymion.com/products/mailman/ http://www.microlink.com/