Brazil – The great meeting: Don Bosco and ECA's 30 years

05 August 2020

(ANS - San Paolo) - Education is a thing of the heart, said Don Bosco. It is an extremely appropriate paradigm to celebrate the 30 years of the Statute of the Child and Adolescent (ECA, in Portuguese), a set of rules of the Brazilian legal system aimed at the integral protection of children and adolescents, which in July celebrated its thirtieth anniversary.

With the advent of the 1988 Constitution, also known as the Citizens' Constitution, the doctrine of integral protection was introduced in Brazil. In it, article 227 declares the duty of the family, society and the state to ensure children and adolescents, with absolute priority, the right to life, health, food, education, leisure, professionalization, culture, dignity, respect, freedom, and family and community coexistence.

On July 13, 1990, with law no. 8069, the Statute of the Child and Adolescent was born. This law changed the perspective according to which children and adolescents were seen, defining them as citizens with rights, subject to differentiated, specialized and integral protection. The ECA decentralizes and municipalises administrative actions, eliminating bureaucracy from public policies aimed at children and adolescents in Brazil.

We must not forget that the ECA is the result of a social movement that has strengthened itself against the punitive system of the Juvenile Code, replacing punishment with education and Human Rights. It is here that a great meeting between Don Bosco and the ECA is celebrated.

Through his Preventive System, Don Bosco gave shape to an educational practice that concerns young people, especially the excluded, the abandoned, those in a state of vulnerability and risk. Through his Preventive System, Don Bosco, faced with the situation of young people of his time, made the choice of education: a type of education that brought presence, affection and joy as values, guided by reason, religion and loving-kindness.

Celebrating 30 years of ECA also means recognizing that children and adolescents have had access to education and health, that infant mortality has been reduced and that the right to birth registration has been guaranteed through the certificate.

The ECA has also made it possible to open up to other policies, such as: the National Plan for the Fight against Sexual Violence against Children and Adolescents; the National Plan for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor and the Protection of Working Teenagers; the protection of the Right to the Family and Community Coexistence; and with the support of other national and international bodies, the proposal for a National Social-Educational Assistance System (SINASE) was systematized and presented.

However, there is still work to be done, because inequalities persist, forcing many children and adolescents to not fully enjoy their rights.

by Claudia R. Zanchin Vanzo 


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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