Skip to main content
European Social Fund Plus

Guided steps to independence for young people in institutional care

Young woman receiving counselling
(c) 2023 Shutterstock

Like many young people in institutional or foster care, Cristina found the months leading up to her 18th birthday especially nerve-wracking. Becoming an adult would mean moving out of the care system and supporting herself for the first time.  

‘I thought to myself, “I am afraid to leave”,’ she recalls. 

Then Cristina had an idea: ‘“Why don’t I go to Concordia Vocational School?”, because during the COVID-19 quarantine, I discovered a new passion for cooking.’ 

Concordia is a charitable organisation supporting disadvantaged children, young people and families in Bucharest and the Prahova district to live economically and socially-independentsocially independent lives. With support from the European Social Fund (ESF), Concordia’s ‘First Room’ project helps young people who have recently left care – like Cristina – to access vocational training, psychological counselling and affordable accommodation.    

Cristina used the opportunity to train as a chef and find her first job. ‘I learned how to cook at a professional level, as well as how to present food and eat healthy,’ she says. ‘Now, I am working as a sous an assistant chef cook at a Mediterranean luxury restaurant in Ploiești.’ 

The project also supports participants with accommodation costs, meaning Cristina can afford to work part-time while completing high school. ‘‘This project helps me with the rent, and it is a big thing for me, because I am just starting my independent life, and I don’t think I would have managed otherwise.’ 

With new skills, decent work, and a ‘First Room’ of their own, the project provides young people like Cristina will have the foundations to thrive as independent adults.  

Project details

Project name
First Room
Project start
Project end
Total budget
EUR 791 000
EU Budget contribution
EUR 782 894