At the national level, examples of significant results include the following:
The program implemented a model based on tailored accompaniment to street children and their family members that contributed to the reinsertion of street children into their families, schools and communities in Sao Bernardo do Campo (a major industrial city near Sao Paolo).
By participating as an active member of municipal and state-level networks and coalitions, we also had several public policy victories. CWS partner Meninos y Meninas de Rua made a formal complaint to the Public Ministry, which led to a court case and a favorable ruling that obligated the municipality to open a specialized clinic which treats children and adolescents with chemical and alcohol dependency exclusively.
Local advocacy resulted in the creation of a complementary, pioneering center that provides initial psychological and social screening to youth with substance abuse problems and makes referrals to appropriate government services.
The program also helped achieve a Supreme Court ruling that obligated the municipal government to create 8,306 new openings for pre-schools students up to age six in public pre-schools, to cover the existing deficit.
Program staff trained approximately 100 youth facilitators who, in turn, help their peers prevent substance abuse, sexual abuse, and other forms of violence.
Five hundred children and youth were reintegrated into their families or placed in a home, and received psychological counseling, medical attention, and/or tutoring.
To provide alternative sources of income (and thus prevent prostitution) the program expanded the reach of Caminante’s own vocational training courses by negotiating an agreement with a public agency to grant scholarships for student transportation and food, which was expanded with resources from the office of the President’s wife.
In coalition with national networks and other civil society groups, the program spurred the creation of a specialized municipal team to investigate crimes against children and youth, which has a psychologist and social worker who coordinate with Caminante in cases of child prostitution.
The program created an active network of “community-based advocates,” men and women who work in and Managua’s markets as sellers or security guards, members of the police, teachers, and others. Through training and promotion, the program has both raised their awareness and directly involved them in protecting the safety and well-being of child street vendors and in denouncing abuses when they occur.
The program also provided direct services to sexual assault survivors (including shelter, medical and psychological care, legal help and vocational orientation) and codified a methodology and protocols for this work.
The program educated government officials on their role in the protection of vulnerable children, and has brought together relevant public and private actors to promote coordinated actions.
After years of advocacy with other actors, CWS partner INPRHU ensured that the 2007 criminal code reform include helpful new definitions of sexual crimes (that emphasize the role of the perpetrator) and increased sentences for the same.
The program worked directly with children and their families and also involved members of 40 local organizations, teachers, health workers and other public officials in the impoverished Malvín Norte neighborhood of Montevideo. As a result, 120 children and adolescents no longer work in the collection and classification of trash and another 80 reduced the hours involved in this work, which allowed them to increase their school attendance and participation in sports and other recreational activities.
After CWS partner Gurises Unidos raised awareness among and created working relationships with public officials, the government included sorting trash in its official definition of the worst forms of child labor, opening the door for relevant public policies.
At the program’s behest, the group of government agencies involved in child labor issues address the participation of young people in collecting and sorting trash, and the Ministry of Social Development initiated specific measures (such as 24-hour childcare centers) to prevent child labor in this specific type of work.
In all cases, the increased integration of the children and adolescents into their families and communities, in turn, lowered levels of stigmatization, discrimination and exclusion and opened the door to numerous opportunities for children to grow and develop in healthy ways. All partners are regularly recognized for and contribute their expertise on violence against young people to the formulation of relevant public policies.