The project is developing a pioneering outreach service which promotes the reunification of street children with their families and will pilot an intervention model that can be shared with other NGOs and government bodies.
It ran from to
Registered Charity in England and Wales (1075037)
Forced displacement due to the armed conflict and economic migration from poor rural areas has led to a breakdown in family and social structures, and an increase in the number of children living and working on the streets across Colombia. These children have invariably been forced on to the streets as a result of serious problems at home including poverty, neglect, domestic violence, sexual abuse, drug or alcohol addiction, exploitation and behavioural problems. On the streets, though, they face the same dangers of abuse, exploitation and the hardships associated with child labour. The Colombian Government, in line with the UN convention on the Rights of the Child, has recently introduced a new law reducing the amount of time that children should spend in institutional care. While family reunification is often in the child‚Äôs best interests, there is a danger that the fundamental problems causing a child to live on the street will not have been resolved before a child is returned. Children are returned to their families when neither party is sufficiently prepared or has had time to develop the skills they need to make it a success. As a result, children are in danger of becoming victims of abuse once more ‚Äì either at home or on the street. The project is a response to this situation and provides intensive personalised support to both children and their families on leaving care. The project aims to prevent children returning to the dangers of the street by improving families' ability to cope with their child's return, and detecting when a child is suffering abuse or neglect at home. Education, a key factor in preventing child labour and exploitation, is an important focus. The project will develop a flexible model for reintegration of street children into their family group to share with other NGOs. At the end of the pilot project, many care homes working to prevent abuse of children within and outside the family will be able to take advantage of the project‚Äôs experience and implement their own effective family reunification programmes.
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