COVID-19 response: protection and prevention of children and adults with disabilities in public care and professionals and caregivers

Project info:

In March 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, to be a pandemic, due to the speed and scale of transmission. Certain populations, such as those with disability, may be impacted more significantly by COVID-19. Children and adults with disability may be at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 because of:
i) Barriers to access public health information;
ii) Difficulty in enacting or coping with social distancing because of additional support needs or because they are institutionalized;
iii) Discontinuity of specialised services because of social distancing policies and reduced availability of caregivers;
iv) Weak or ineffective reporting or complaint mechanisms for cases of violence against children or other violation of rights. People with disability may also be disproportionately impacted by the outbreak because of serious disruptions to the services they rely on. The barriers experienced by people with disability can be reduced if key stakeholders take appropriate action.

The National Authority for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Children and Adoption (National Authority), the Centre for Legal Resources and UNICEF decided to co-operate for ensuring targeted measures for children and adults with disabilities, with special focus on those in public care and professionals and caregivers, with the aim to identify actions for the continuity of services (and priority access to protective equipment).


The Center for Legal Resources will be the main implementing partner for the following activities:

Targeting children and adults with disabilities:
– Informative campaign for the residents in terms of COVID-19 prevention;
– Hotline for children and adults with disabilities for a) psycho-social support and counseling or identify contingencies for when the number of caregivers is limited or there are none available; b) for identifying the potential for increased violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability because of social isolation and disruption to daily routines and support mitigation of these risks.

Targeting professionals and caregivers:
– Training for professional and caregivers on specific actions for disability service providers in the context of COVID-19 organised;
– Hotline for professionals and caregivers forl: a) psycho-social support and assistance for continuity plans and b) to communicate with the National Authority and raise concerns.

The current partnership is also considered an opportunity for continuing efforts in policy-advocacy on the protection of rights of persons with disabilities and further development of the normative framework in line with UNCRC and UNCRPD.

Implementation Period:

15.05.2020 – 31.12.2020


UNICEF Romania