Chile - Make visible the reality of children and adolescents living in the streets

15 May 2019

(ANS - Santiago) - "It is enough for one child to live on the street to demonstrate the total failure of our childcare policies," writes G. Guzmán. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, in its objective 16.2 proposes to end abuses, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children. The question arises spontaneously. What does society do about this problem? Some governmental and religious institutions contribute every day to providing a solution. The "Don Bosco" Foundation of Chile participated in the public presentation of the results of the "Counting of street children and adolescents (NNA, in Spanish)" by the Ministry of Social Development and the Family, on May 6th.

The study conducted by the "Alberto Hurtado" University revealed that last year 547 children or adolescents had spent at least one night on the street, without a responsible adult nearby.

Minister Alfredo Moreno stressed that "the problems of these children are very serious. They are children who have problems with alcohol consumption, drugs, who have experienced dramatic situations. We have taken an important step to make this problem visible, because we cannot progress in solving a problem if we do not know it."

The executive director of the "Don Bosco" Foundation, Sergio Mercado, emphasized to the newspaper La Tercera that minors living on the street are "invisible" to society, and for this reason their counting serves to fill that gap. "The street child is not like the stereotype we have in mind, with torn and dirty clothes. That no longer exists. Today the street child is very clean and is no different from anyone else of his age. They are fully integrated into networks and has Facebook. We don't see the difference until we intervene in the field," he explains.

The measures that will be implemented in the short term are proximity routes available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in 3 regions of the country: Metro, Valparaiso and Biobío. The executors of the Program will work at all hours to complete the field work with the children and adolescents included in the Program. In addition, two emergency shelters will be opened during the winter period in the Metropolitan Region and Valparaiso, which can each accommodate 10 to 20 children and adolescents.

Attending the presentation were: the Undersecretary for Children, Carol Bown; the Defender of Children, Patricia Muñoz; representatives of the organizations: UNICEF, "Hogar de Cristo", "Fundación América Solidaria", "Fundación para la Confianza", of the Chilean association of municipalities and of the University "Alberto Hurtado".

Source: Diario La Tercera


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