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EACEA National Policies Platform


4. Social Inclusion

4.1 General context

Last update: 25 March 2024
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  1. Main challenges to social inclusion
  2. Main concepts

Main challenges to social inclusion

According to the analysis for the National strategy regarding social inclusion and poverty reduction for the period 2022—2027 (Strategia Națională privind incluziunea socială și reducerea sărăciei pentru perioada 2022—2027), probably the main challenge to social inclusion in Romania is poverty. Starting in 2009, young people have had the second highest poverty rate, being the main group affected by the economic crisis. In 2012, young people between 18 and 24 years old had an extremely high poverty and social exclusion rate (35.5%), very close to the high risk of poverty experienced by children. 

Roma have a much higher risk of being in poverty, irrespective of their age, education, or area of residence, 80% of the Roma population in Romania live below the poverty line. Discrimination of Roma population, irrespective of their age, education, or area of residence, is also an important problem underlined by FRA reports.

In-work poverty affects one in two adults in Romania, including young adults. The large majority of in-work poor combine earnings with social protection transfers (80% of the total), the child allowances being the most common form of support.

Children and youth deprived of parental care and support are among the most vulnerable groups in Romania identified by research and strategic planning.

While during the 1990s the special protection system for children separated from their families have been the source of internationally known scandals in Romania, the conditions in the orphanages being outrageous, the system has been reformed in Romania over the last 15 years. Placement, foster families or small placement houses for children and young people under 18 separated by their families have been generally taken the place of large orphanages.

Other vulnerabilities identified by the analysis supporting the National strategy regarding social inclusion and poverty reduction for the period 2022—2027 are the bulling (especially in schools) and the rising risks related drug addiction among children and young people.

Since 2022-2023, a complex strategy for the integration of persons with disabilities (Strategia națională privind drepturile persoanelor cu dizabilități „O Românie echitabilă”, 2022-2027) and for deinstitutionalization of persons with disabilities from permanent care facilities (Strategia națională privind prevenirea instituționalizării persoanelor adulte cu dizabilități și accelerarea procesului de dezinstituționalizare, pentru perioada 2022-2030, generate new opportunities for all persons with disabilities, including young people.

Main concepts

Social assistance law in Romania, other regulations and the entire system operate with the concept of ‘young people leaving the special protection system’, regarding to young people over 18 that are leaving any form of protection while separated from their parents, either by placement in the extended family (grandparents or other relatives), or by placement to foster families or to orphanages.

Acknowledging the fact that discrimination is one of the main causes that generate or maintain situations of exclusion and marginalization, the disadvantaged category is defined by the special law on combating discrimination as being that category of people who are either in a position of inequality compared to the majority’s situation, due to differences in identity or are facing rejection and marginalization when it comes to others’ behaviour. The vulnerable groups include: children at risk of poverty, vulnerability to social disintegration processes, juvenile delinquency; young people over 18 who are no longer covered by the family protection system; people with disabilities; persons belonging to the Roma population in high risk situations; the elderly in high risk situation and the homeless.