Romanian kids' charity turns to UK PRO

BUCHAREST/LONDON: A Romanian charity has handed a London PR man the tough task of improving European media coverage of changes to the country's impoverished childcare system.

Brett Gregory-Peake, director of lifestyle PR agency Frank & Earnest Communications, is acting as part-time international media adviser to Romania's National Authority for the Protection of Child Rights (NAPCR).

Romania's abandoned children were one of the worst secrets of the communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. The terrible state of the country's orphanages only became clear after the dictator's execution in 1989.

International aid charities, volunteers and TV-inspired donations, including an appeal by the BBC's Blue Peter, flocked to help.

Many of the worst institutions have since been closed - but some reports in recent years have indicated that conditions in some homes have scarcely improved since Ceausescu's demise.

The country has, however, effectively banned adoption of its orphans by foreigners in a bid to satisfy a European Union concerned that the process has been open to abuse and corruption.

The NAPCR has now launched a campaign to promote other similar changes to the country's childcare system. Financial backers include the EU, the Romanian government and consultancy Enterprise Plc.

Gregory-Peake plans Romanian 'study tours' for journalists and said: 'We want to show improvements have been made and challenge traditional coverage.'

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