From indignation to action


More than 50,000 children in care must grow up safely. For them and for the whole of society, we now need a strong reform of the protection system

We have all raised our hands at the news of cases of sexual exploitation of girls under guardianship, and some boys, in various autonomous communities. It is not for less, we would be insensitive if we were indifferent to one of the worst forms of violence against some girls who leave from a very vulnerable situation. But outrage alone is not enough; We must take action. We must demand that resources be deployed so that this does not happen again. Children’s right to live in a family must be guaranteed, and if it is not possible for them to do so alone, provide them with care alternatives that reproduce family life and protect them from violence.

In Spain we have 19 territorial protection systems, all with a common framework offered by state laws, but with important differences, taking into account the different realities as well as, sometimes, different approaches. This is a challenge, but also an opportunity. Since 2015, significant advances have been made in legislation governing children’s rights, both through the Organic Law on Children and Adolescents and the Organic Law for the Protection of Children and Adolescents from State-Level Violence. development of regional legislation. Last May, the Action Plan against the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in the Protection System was approved, an essential step to eradicate this shame from our protection systems, for which resources and the application of measures must be really useful.

The evidence shows us that the best thing for a boy, girl or adolescent is to grow up in a family and, if it cannot be their own, foster care is the path. But we cannot rely solely on the goodwill of the brave men and women who welcome them, neither to take that first step, nor to help these children move forward unaided. There must be a structure that promotes this type of care, publicizes it, identifies suitable families, deploys professionals to mothers and fathers and ensures that boys and girls fully grow and develop.

Before we get here, the first step should always be to support the families of origin and avoid divorce. But if this is not possible, shelters should be the last option, not the first.

The construction of the high-speed train, a hospital or the rehabilitation of a historic building take up a lot of space on the agenda and in the public debate. The implementation plan, the budget, the opinions of some and others. Why doesn’t one of the most basic public services of our administration get equal importance in the collective imagination? We are talking about more than 50,000 boys and girls who need to grow up safely. For them and for society as a whole, we now need a strong security system reform, with an adequate budget, a precise deadline for implementation and, why not, with the quality and innovation standards we demand from the road network or the aviation company .

The European funds that we’ve heard so much about lately offer a great opportunity in this regard. Deinstitutionalization has been called that priority, which is reflected in the ambitious state child guarantee plan presented last June: take children out of custody and raise them in families. The elaboration of the National Deinstitutionalization Strategy emphasizes the need to end the admission of children under 10 years of age in centers, the transformation of residential care and the protection system, as well as the promotion of family care, which is considered to be the priority. Let’s listen to the professionals who have spent years looking at what works and what doesn’t, let’s count on them and them to reinvent the housing model and really guide the family. Let’s ask the children and young people in and out of care how their experience has been and how they would change it. Let’s turn to the evidence, inside and outside our country, to find new and better ways to guarantee the rights of these boys and girls.

Source: La Verdad


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