Police employees share thoughts on new child-friendly space

Date:

At the beginning of 2024, Moldova’s National Public Security Inspectorate (NPSI) opened a child-friendly room in Chisinau. Serving as a space for the children of employees, the room marks a significant moment in the NPSI’s efforts to support the work-life balance of personnel in the police system. The room is fully equipped with everything necessary for the comfort and needs of children, having received financial support from the Government of Sweden in collaboration with UN Women Moldova. This is the first room of its kind within a body of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and it represents an important step towards creating a more family-friendly working environment for employees. Below, several of the NPSI’s employees share how this child-friendly room has affected their personal and professional lives.

CrestemImpreuna

Mariana Suvac is a psychologist at the NPSI, a responsibility she has in addition to her role as the mother of a four-year-old girl. Since the child-friendly room opened, her daughter, Laura, has sometimes accompanied her to work, where she spends time in the safe care of a staff member responsible for watching children and other youngsters. Together, they enjoy various activities such as reading, drawing, playing and talking.

Suvac says the NPSI has at least nine staff members who have families in which both partners work under the same schedule. "There are also single-parent families, and it is the responsibility of the NPSI’s management to find suitable solutions for each employee to financially support their family."

Crestem Impreuna

Other institutions considering implementing childcare services in the workplace should communicate effectively with employees, according to Suvac. “The introduction of such a service may initially be met with skepticism from employees, but solid and practical arguments will help dispel these reservations,” she says. “It is also important for the caregivers to have the qualifications and skills necessary to interact with children."

Crestem

Suvac feels the service is beneficial for everyone. “When we manage to harmonize our career and personal life, we are able to fully realize our potential,” she says. “This involves active engagement of both parents in all aspects of their children's lives.”

CrestemImpreuna

More than 140 policewomen actively work for the NPSI, according to Marin Manița, the manager of the institution and a colonel in the State Protection and Guard Service. He says that access to childcare services in the workplace is extremely important for supporting gender equality and women's careers, especially given the size of the NPSI’s female workforce. Many factors perpetuate gender inequality, including difficulties faced by women, especially mothers, in finding and maintaining paid employment, along with stereotypes that women should take care of families while men should be breadwinners. According to Manița, access to on-site childcare services is an efficient solution for the NPSI’s employees, but other mechanisms need to be developed to support them in balancing their personal and professional lives. 

"My children have grown up and no longer require constant supervision, so they do not benefit from this space,” Manița says. “However, I enjoy visiting this place, where the energy and joy of the children always give me a sense of well-being. They are fascinated by the specially designed equipment for them, and each element is tailored to their interests and ages, bringing out unique joy in each child." 

CrestemImpreuna

Alexandra, an NPSI employee whose name has been changed, is the mother of a seven-year-old girl. She says the child-friendly room has significantly helped her in better balancing her personal life and career. She feels much calmer at work, knowing that her daughter is safe and enjoying the activities offered in the room. Passionate about drawing and reading, her daughter finds opportunities to explore these interests in the renovated space, where she also does her homework after school.

Alexandra's work schedule has always been organized around her child's needs, and this new space is giving her the flexibility to spend time with her daughter while on the job. During the workday, she drops into the child-friendly room to spend a few moments with her daughter, fostering a more balanced, healthier dynamic for both of them. "I would like to express my sincere thanks to the partners involved in opening this space,” Alexandra says. “This comes as a gift, especially for single mothers raising their children alone.”

CrestemImpreuna

The special room was designed to accommodate children between the ages of 3 and 12, offering them a safe and tailored place after school, during holidays or in emergency situations. This initiative is not only improving the efficiency of employees but also supporting parents who both work for the NPSI and require childcare. Having a child-friendly room on site also bolsters the career aspirations of women within the police force and, in turn, promotes gender equality.

"In a society where women still feel constrained to choose between career and family life, this initiative represents an important step in supporting them,” says Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Moldova’s Country Representative, adding that it may also encourage more women to pursue careers in law enforcement.

Over the past year, from 2023 to 2024, UN Women Moldova helped expand daycare groups across the country and create child-friendly spaces in the cities of Chișinău, Sîngerei, Glodeni, Rîșcani and Căușeni. These initiatives are intended to improve economic opportunities for women and provide them with access to the labor market, thereby contributing to the sustainable development of communities and society.