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Country Comparison of At-risk Children in Care

Info: 8665 words (35 pages) Dissertation
Published: 11th Dec 2019

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Tagged: Social WorkHealth and Social Care

The Children in Institutional Care in the world and contemporary foster care

The children at risk in European and Brazil contrasts between the Institutional Care and contemporary foster care



The United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children (Pinheiro & UNICEF, 2006), confirms that violence against children happens in all parts of the world.  Despite the importance of this issue, the little data available on the numbers and characteristics of young children in institutional care, although reports to the World Perspectives on Child Abuse in European countries (Kevin Browne, Hamilton-Giachritsis, Johnson, & Ostergren, 2006), between 1998 and 2004 in the European region 38 of the 52 countries had child protection services to child victims of abuse (Unicef, 2004) and (K Browne, 2005). The number of residential institutions and the number of children living in them is unknown (Butchart & Organization, 2006).

The UNICEF estimates that the total number of children in institutional care globally is ‘more than 2 million’ (UNICEF, 2009), but they point out that under-reporting and a lack of regulation in some countries indicates that this figure is an underestimate (Browne, 2009). These figures are often reported as underestimates, due to lack of data from many countries and the large proportion of unregistered institutions (Reza, Mercy & Krug, 2002). Information available from UNICEF and other international organizations suggests that the use of residential care for children is increasing to 8 million (Pinheiro, 2006), especially for countries in economic transition, such as China and Vietnam adopted a gradual transition mode. However Russia and some other East-European countries, such as the former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, used a more aggressive and quicker paced model of transition in conflict or disaster zones (NGO Committee on Education, 2009).

Also included are children endangered by drug addiction, even in prenatal development (NGO Committee on Education, 2009). When defining the disadvantaged child we may draw on a definition from the English Children Act 1989 of a ‘child in need’ (Šašková & Mertová, 2012).

Reports of cruel and humiliating punishment, genital mutilation of girls, neglect, sexual abuse, homicide, and other forms of violence against children have long been recorded, but the grave and urgent nature of this global problem was revealed only in the arly 2000s (Reza, Mercy & Krug, 2002), (Myers, 2005).

Under the United Nations’Convention on the Rights of the Child all 52 countries in the World Health Organization’s European region agreed to provide children in need with temporary or permanent substitute care. (Kevin Browne et al., 2006) Substitute care varies from institutional care to forms of family based care, such as guardianship by relatives or friends, fostering, or adoption. The services that have been offered have changed over time and have been influenced by political, economic, and social changes. A minority of children live without their parents, either because their biological parents have died or abandoned them or because their parents do not have the means to care for them appropriately (Myers, 2005).

The review the work of a Child Abuse and Neglect working group of the American Psychological Association, comment upon the methodological limitations of research in the field (Becker et al., 1995. In this, studies seem to show adherence rigorous to highlight experimental studies, and a particular aspect of primarily prevention.

The reviews which to have the most  rigorous methodology spectrum take care to highlight any problems, which should signal the need for a degree of caution regarding the confidence that we can place in the results.  Although few systematic reviews of child protection do exist, to according to (Macdonald, 2001), it situation is changing.

Therefore, the central objective of this paper is to mapping how the children in risk are assisted in different countries, especially reflecting the contrasts between the Institutional Care and contemporary foster care in the UK others Europe countries and Brazil.


1 The institutionalization of children at risk: data and reasons

The practice of placing young children in residential care without a parent or surrogate parent  is regarded as the traditional response to ‘protecting’ children from harm and ‘rescuing’ them from poor and inadequate parenting Browne, K. (2009). This damaging practice is a worldwide phenomenon. In fact, young children in need of help and support  being placed  into social care institutions  for over 200 years, for Europeans in all parts of the world.

The numbers and characteristics of young children in institutional care in Europe, like elsewhere, has problems of reliability and validity. For example, “there is no standardisation of types of institutions, of the government department(s) responsible, of the data collected or of the methods used, and some countries only report data from state institutions and do not include children in ‘children’s homes’ run by privately owned, faith-based or non-governmental organisations (NGOs).” (K. D. Browne, 2009)

In 2003, a study mapped the official recorded number and characteristics of children under age three years in residential care (K Browne, 2005) and found that 23,099 young children (out of an overall population of 20.6 million under three) had spent more than three months in institutions, of more than ten children, without a parent. This represents 11 children in every 10,000 under three years in residential care homes throughout the European Economic Community (EEC). This study conclude that, only Iceland, Norway, Slovenia and the UK had a policy to provide foster care rather than institutional homes for all needy young children under the age of five. Of most concern were the 15 countries with more than one in every thousand (10 per 10,000) infants or toddlers living the first part of their lives in a residential ‘children’s home’ without a parent. In 2003, these countries were Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia, with more than 50 per 10,000; Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Slovak Republic with more than 30 per 10,000; Finland, Malta, Estonia, Spain, with more than 20 per 10,000; and Netherlands, Portugal and France, with more than 10 per 10,000.

Numero de crianças nas instituições no brasil.

The reasons who children under the age of three are being institutionalization have become more diversified in recent years. Similarly, the different reasons for the institutionalization of children has been variating in the countries of the same region.

The recent study of (K. D. Browne, et al 2004) to showed that in European in Western European countries (Belgium, France, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the UK), found the reasons for placing children under three in residential care institutions were abuse and neglect within the family (69%), parents in prison (23%), abandonment (4%), and disability (4%). The institutionalised children in central and south-eastern Europe (Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Romania and Slovakia), Cyprus and Malta were orphans. The main reasons for the children being placed in residential care in these countries were abandonment (32%), family ill-health and incapacity (25%), disability (23%), abuse or neglect (14%), and orphaned (6%).

In Brazil, a national survey of 589 institutions receiving federal funding used somewhat different categories to collect data on institutionalisation of children of all ages. The main reasons children were institutionalised included the following: family’s lack of material resources (i.e. poverty) (24%), abandonment by parents or guardians (18%), domestic violence (11%), parents’ or guardians’ addiction to chemical substances (11%), parents living on the streets (7%), orphaned: 5%, imprisonment of parents or guardians (4%), and sexual abuse by either parents or guardians (3%) according with (Epea & Silva, 2004).

1.1 Institutionalization in European in Western European countries: abuse and neglect

Belgium, France, Norway, Portugal, Sweden

In European in Western European countries the prevalence of neglect has been the greatest concern UK authorities, that has acted to fighting for the needs of the poor, well-being of children and family (Platt, 2012; Stevenson, 2008), and preventing childhood violence and abuse   (Platt & Turney, 2013; Stafford, Vincent, Parton, & Smith, 2011), special, all forms of child maltreatment coming of the context of social and cultural differences on account of social class, ethnicity and region.

A of the focus of study from the researchers has investigation the reasons for the prevalence of neglect, analying the go through extended child maltreatment period, since 1985. (Baker & Duncan, 1985), (May-Chahal & Cawson, 2005) and (Cawson, Wattam, Brooker, & Kelly, 2000)

Since 1990s, the idea of the ‘normal’ nuclear family, based on the institution of life-long marriage and premised on the male breadwinner model, seemed outmoded and New Labour government pursued a more ‘active’ approach to social entitlements for adults by drawing a tighter link between employment and social provision, and a stricter ‘social investment’ approach to social spending in general and policies aimed at addressing ‘social exclusion’ in particular (Powell, 2008). Thus rather than the focus of attention being primarily on the ‘family’, increasingly, children were being seen as important in their own right. Ather than seeing its prime focus as attempting to streng then marriage and the family, the government prioritized policies concerned with improving the life chances and well-being of children, particularly providing them with secure and stable parental relationships and attachments (Jane Lewis, 2001). Because, previously, the family had been both deconstructed and disaggregated, children and parents (both men and women) were seen to inhabit much more separate worlds with somewhat separate interests.

Based on this new general scenario, considerable attention was focused on children as future citizens and maximising their educational and employment potential (Lister, 2006), together with ensuring they did not engage in criminal or anti-social behaviour (James & James, 2004). Thus, the family that was seen as the central building block of society and the key instrument of government, began to change in important ways. The radical change occurred with the election of the New Labour government in May 1997,  that focused it on modernising welfare policy, and placed policies related to children and young people at the heart of its programme. And this caused the grow ingindividualisation of social and community life (J.  Lewis, 2007).

(Parton, 2010) justifies that, while ‘partnering’ was seen as essentially a private matter, subject to individual freedom of action and choice, ‘parenting’ was very much a public concern and therefore a legitimate site for state intervention. These processes of increased individualisation had helped to create the social conditions that had made it possible for children to gain more protection, initially within the family and subsequently in other institutions. The process of individualisation not only disaggregated the family but recognised that children had a right to a life, a biography and autonomy; hence, there was an increased emphasis on the views and rights of children.

The report produced by Lord Laming in March 2009 entitled The Protection of Children in England (Laming, 2009) and the government’s response (HM Government, 2006) were emphatic in their reports with the use of the terms of ‘child protection’. There was also a change in England from social service departments to departments of children’s services (Parton, 2009), but in the way the technologies and administrative systems were themselves organised and articulated (Hall, Parton, Peckover, & White, 2010).

Commissioned by the organization “Action for Children,” which provides services throughout the United Kingdom to improve outcomes for neglected children, done for (Long et al., 2014). The aim of the study was to develop an understanding of what worked and the reasons for success in order to guide future strategy and practice.

The child maltreatment in the UK are provenance of the context of social and cultural differences on account of social class, ethnicity and region (May-Chahal & Cawson, 2005). Neglect is the most widespread form of child maltreatment in the UK and has a devastating impact on children and (Department for Education, 2012), (Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety, 2012) and (Government of the Welsh Assembly, 2012).

1.2 Institutionalization in central and south-eastern Europe (Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Romania and Slovakia): abandonment and  family ill-health and incapacity

The Ukraine has 100,000 children living in large Soviet-style orphanages. It has been estimated by childcare professionals in the Ukraine that institutional care for children accounts for over 1% of the gross domestic product (Greenberg & Partskhaladze, 2014).

Between 2005 and 2013, the Government in the Republic of Georgia closed 32 large, state-run institutions housing children without adequate family care. Social work was strengthened, a robust program was created to reunite children with their families, a foster care system was put into place and scaled up, and small group homes housing 8 to 10 children were established. What happened in Georgia is unique in the region. “The conditions in Georgia that made the reform possible, how the institutions were closed, how the alternatives were established, and how sustainable the progress has been” (Greenberg & Partskhaladze, 2014).

There was over 100,000 children under eighteen years old, placed in institutions care by their parents because of poverty or marital breakdown, after that the regime change in December 1989, in Romania (Siani-Davies, 2007). The reforms advocated by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified in 1990, but this convention did not appear in Romania until seven years later(Rus, Parris, Cross, Purvis, & Draghici, 2011)

Because, in other countries of Central and Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union countries, as in Romania, there was the reliance on residential institutions for the care of children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. As a result, “there are almost no community-based alternatives to care for large and growing numbers of vulnerable individuals” (Tobis, 2000).

To according to (Ambrose, 2002), some of the factors that led to this long delay are intuitive, coming from the legacy of communism; to name only a few: a highly centralized residential care system with authority divided among four ministries, the lack of specialized human resources, and no community social work.

The child abandonment in hospital units was decisive to boost institutional care field: 4,614 children were abandoned during 2004: 61 percent in maternity units and 39 percent in pediatric units. A total of 940 children were placed with substitute families, 768 children were placed in public and private placement centers, and the remainder was reintegrated with their families using various support services (Ambrose, 2002). This diversity of options for responding to children and families in need was not conceivable until recently.

To according to the report on Romania’s child protection system emphasized, what was needed on the verge of the child protection reform of 2004 was technical assistance and training, implementation and enforcement, reporting and measurement of accomplishments, and public education (US Department of Health & Services, 2002). These changes haved effect children’s development, health, and psychological well-being (Rus et al., 2011).

Owing to the late adoption of the residential care – the sole protective policy in existence at the beginning of the new democratic Romania – and the systematic restructuring may make it difficult to compare and contrast Romania with other countries in terms of residential care systems. To do so, it is important to weigh carefully the historical and cultural dimensions of Romania’s situation and think about perspective the interaction between the size of the problem and the time span for changes.

In summary, (Greenberg & Partskhaladze, 2014) show in your article how this transformation was accomplished Romania, considering that, even though of the progress over the past 10 years,  still has over 40,000 children in large-institution care.


1.3 Institutionalization  in Brazil: poverty and abandonment by parents or guardians

The institutionalization is used as a means of opposing abandonment or for reasons called “resocializers.” Brazilian history shows the total inefficiency and inefficiency and incompetence of institutions of internment to promote the effectiveness of child and youth growth (Sanchez & Minayo, 2004). They themselves are producers of physical, emotional and negligence violence, which happens for many reasons: bureaucratic form of organization and care whose character is impersonal and depersonalizing, creating impossibility of significant bonds and bonds; Closure to the outside world and monotony of daily life based on discipline and not on the forms of development of the subjects, generating poverty of personal relationships. There is no priority for governments in training young people living in prison for some time in the institutions, and even after the ECA many of them continue to function as real prisons.

However, the three limiting situations that persist in the country as true tips of the iceberg of structural violence are the antithesis of the integral protection advocated by the ECA.

The concept of family neglect encompasses different types of violence, with neglect and omission of care being the most frequent (Barros Martins, do Amaral Costa, & Rossetti-Ferreira, 2010). Neglect can be understood as a failure to provide basic care for the family or society (Bazon, 2008); (M. C. O. Costa et al., 2007); (N. R. d. A. Costa & Rossetti-Ferreira, 2009); (Silva & Ferriani, 2007). Poverty and socioeconomic difficulties contribute to the insufficient provision of the needs of the child by the families (Serrano, 2008).

The concern with childhood maltreatment from the point of view of epidemiology, the prevention of risk factors and specialized care are very recent in Brazil, re-dating to the 1980s.

Health institutions have been working together with the child victim of violence in a comprehensive vision, adding specific care in the tending of injuries and traumas with practices of promotion and health prediction.

However, this action is still very restricted and hardly visible, due to the territorial extent of Brazil, the unequal distribution of knowledge, equipment and resources, and because of many cultural myths that surround the subject. In the minds of many Brazilians, perhaps even the majority, “parents continue to have the power of life and death over their children; They believe that the best education can only be achieved with punishment and humiliation; And the idea persists that physical violence is necessary to contain the disobedience and rebellion of young people and children” (Sanchez & Minayo, 2004)

Structural violence is one that affects the living conditions of children and adolescents, based on historic-economic and social decisions, making vulnerable their conditions of growth and development.

Structural violence has many forms and limits of manifestation. Three major expressions of vulnerability are: the existence of boys and girls living or working on the streets; The boys and girls working to survive and the lives of boys and girls within institutions of deprivation of liberty.

The various studies on the phenomenon street boys and girls reveal that the main causes of this situation are the lack of conditions of the families to keep them and the conflicts and violence within their families.  The myth that surrounds the treatment of boys and girls as the domain of parents and adults is based on patriarchalism, on the power of the father and on the thesis that education “with blood” enters (ASSIS, 1994; MINAYO, 2001; MINAYO; SANTORO JUNIOR, 2003).

The violence that parents can exercise against their children has three main facets: physical violence, which includes physical abuse or neglect of basic care (food, clothing, safety, etc.); Sexual violence, when coercion is aimed at gaining participation in erotic practices; And psychological violence, being coercion made through threats, humiliation or emotional deprivation. (Guerra, 1985)

However, in the streets they coexist with threats to their lives, potential induction to crime, mistreatment by police officers or others, being exploited by merchants, security guards, and stigmatized as “future bandits.”

As for child labor, since 1998, Brazilian law allows children, from 14 years of age, to work only as apprentices and, over the age of 16, have formal ties. But the Constitution states that minors under the age of 18 can not work at night time (from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.) or in activities considered dangerous and unhealthy. However, the social phenomenon known as child labor is today one of the forms of expression of structural violence in the country.

According to data from the National Household Sample Survey (PNAD), between the years of 2014 and 2015, there was an increase of 8,500 children from 5 to 9 years exposed to this type of work, which corresponds to 11% of a total of boys and girls at this age. In addition to a reduction of 659 thousand young people, between 10 and 17 years, 20% of the total of children and adolescents. Between 2005 and 2013 there was an 81% reduction in child labor. In numbers it would be from 312,009 to 60,534. From 2014 to 2015, the 11% increase was seen, jumping from 69,928 to 78,527.


2 Family Accommodation in the International Scenario

Family Homework, as a formal program, emerged as an alternative practice to institutionalization. This began at different times in countries such as England and Israel dating back to the post-Second World War, Spain in 1970 and Italy in 1980 (Cabral, 2004). In the United States, since the First Congress on Childhood, in 1909, it indicated the acceptance of children and adolescents in surrogate families rather than in institutions as the most appropriate action (Luna, 2004).

Currently in England, foster care is characterized by the temporary or permanent transfer of the parental duties and rights of the biological parents to another adult with whom the child or adolescent, in general, does not have consanguineous relationships. (Brazil, 2004) To this end, local authorities must draw up an intervention plan that justifies such transfer as fundamental to the well-being of the child or adolescent. Placement in a foster family is aimed at ensuring basic care (feeding and supporting physical, emotional and educational development), but does not change the identity of the child or his / her biological parents, nor does it replace the rights and obligations that involve such a condition. In this sense, foster care is a process of creation and not a legal redefinition of the child’s family status. Biological families can collaborate with welcoming families and are both accompanied and supervised by psychosocial professionals (George, van Oudenhoven, & Franco, 2003).

Romania was one of the first countries to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) on November 20, 1989. This convention came into force in Romania in September 1990 with Law 18/1990. The convention attributes primary responsibility to the parents for the upbringing and the development of the child. Even so, in the new general legislative framework, institutionalization of children has been Romania’s primary alternative for children not living with their biological families both during the communist regime and under the new democracy in the 1990s. The second alternative to institutionalization was adoption, either national or international. At the beginning of the 1990s, Romania became a major international adoption country (Gavrilovici, 2009.).

There were 1,407 residential centers for children as of June 30, 2005. More than 73 percent of these centers were public: 888 residential centers were transferred from a central administration entity to the National Authority for Child Protection and Adoption (NACPA) during 1997–1998 and another 108 centers were transferred.

Romania, which has made considerable progress over the past 10 years, still has over 40,000 children in large-institution care. Which the child protection reform of 2004 was technical assistance and training. It have been doing open to possibilities for the assistant social work.

(Tobis, 2000) also strongly suggested making evaluation a central component of a national social safety net to ensure quality services. The inclusion of child protection experts—perhaps from schools of social work or from NGOs— on review teams can add to the quality of the review and at the same time help to sharpen the skills and knowledge of the county and national authority participants (Ambrose, 2002). These recommendations were already implemented in the national policies regarding child protection, including the residential care services for children. As of December 2006 (NAPCR, 2008) the whole child protection system registered 73,976 children in state care (out of 4,770,000 children under age 18), of which 26,105 were in residential care facilities. In December 31, 2007, the decreasing trend of placing children in residential care continues; only 25,114 still live in placement centers while 46,160 are in foster care and placed in families. The total number of children temporarily abandoned in hospital units decreased steadily and sharply after the implementation of 2004 child protection legislation: from 4,614 children in 2004, to 2,580 in year 2005, and 2,216 one year later, in 2006.

In Spain, following the legislative changes in 1987 and 1996, which established that the interests of vulnerable children and young people should be provided by a family and not by an institution, and that deliberations on child protection measures would need to be adopted by a team of qualified professionals (psychologists and social workers). It is aimed, therefore, to prioritize “the best interest of the child” Fernández, Álvarez and Bravo (2003) and Palacios and Amorós (2006). From the mid-1970s onwards Spain implemented the family shelter. The change came in response to the need to rearrange policies for vulnerable children and youth. For Cabral, 2004, the change was not only due to the changes that have taken place in legislations from extensive discussions about children’s rights, but due to the effects of medical and psychological literature (which focuses on the risks caused to development institutionalization). Countries such as France and Italy motivated by such policies also adhere to the implementation of family shelter in the mid-1070s and 1980s.

The results of more than 25 years of family care in Spain have been shown to be the most widely used measure for example in the province of Catalunya (Martí, Peláez, Bestard, & Marre, 2004), which makes alternatives for hospitalization and adoption inappropriate (Barros Martins et al., 2010) and shows that the needs of the children served by the Spanish Protection System have changed.

Georgia has shown, in large part, that the laudable goal of ending large-scale institutions for children is possible, including for children under the age of 6 years. Between 2005 and 2013, the Government in the Republic of Georgia closed 32 large, state-run institutions housing children without adequate family care. Social work was strengthened, a robust program was created to reunite children with their families, a foster care system was put into place and scaled up, and small group homes housing 8 to 10 children were established. What happened in Georgia is unique in the region. (Greenberg & Partskhaladze, 2014)

The government Action Plan on Child Care and Deinstitutionalization was prepared for 2005 to 2007 by the Commission. The plan included pilot programs on prevention of family separation, reintegration of children in institutional care with their biological families, and the establishment of alternative care services, including foster care. Georgia adopted the first Law on Foster Care in 2006 (Greenberg & Partskhaladze, 2014)

Between 2005 and 2009, the transition and consolidation of childcare under one agency was completed, and demonstration pilot projects on alternatives to institutional care were showing results. The total number of children in institutional care declined from approximately 5,000 to 1,500. Many of these children benefited from the initial wave of the reform, returning to biological families with state and NGO support or moving into new foster families. (Greenberg & Partskhaladze, 2014)

In 2010, Mr. Urushadze and his deputies had the technical knowledge of the system and the political will to accelerate the process of deinstitutionalization. Five of the boarding schools remaining in the MoES were recognized as harmful residential settings that provided little to no education and were closed in the deinstitutionalization process, leaving only eight boarding schools in the country to serve the needs of the hard of hearing, the visually impaired, and children with other special needs. (Greenberg & Partskhaladze, 2014)

Evidence has suggested that at least 85% of institutionalized children in Georgia had one or both living parents. Irrespective of age, gender, and health condition, children were placed in institutions mainly due to economic hardship and poverty. http://www.unicef.org/georgia/unicefenglishnew%281%29.pdf

Family foster care as a social practice is not something new in Brazil (N. R. d. A. Costa & Rossetti-Ferreira, 2009). It has happened informally throughout the history through the practices of children’s movement, by families who have welcomed the so-called foster children (Fonseca, 2004), (Franco, 2000), (Sarti, 1996).

However, it is only now proposed as an official program, which comprises a public policy of caring for the child and adolescent deprived of parental care, with legal support and technical support. In this sense, it is a new experience in the history of the country. For example, (Cabral, 2004) and (Uriarte Bálsamo, 2005) report historical initiatives of foster care in Brazil. These investigations should address different aspects of family care, focusing on the different protagonists (the host family, program staff, foster child and adolescent, family of origin), as well as the meanings that circulate in the context of issues related to maintenance and disruption Affective bonds, family reintegration, fostering in families, among other issues involved in this welcoming practice.

The National Survey of Shelters for Children and Adolescents Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (IPEA) or Institute of Applied Economic Research[1] with the institutions registered in the Network of Continuing Action Services (SAC) of the Brazilian Ministry of Social Development, estimated that around 80,000 children and adolescents are living in However, most of the children and adolescents in the shelters investigated had families (86.7%), and were separated from their families due to neglect, abandonment or violence, and had a profile considered desirable for adoption (58.5% boys, 63% afro-descendants and 61.3% between the ages of 7 and 15) (Epea & Silva, 2004). Many of whom spend long periods in shelters, Pauperized, who face several difficulties regarding their maintenance and subsistence.

As pesquisas científicas relativas à institucionalização, as mudanças legislativas, assim como o relato de experiências dos países em que o acolhimento familiar acontece como medida de proteção à criança, têm influenciado o Brasil a pensar alternativas e adotar novos modelos de suporte às crianças que ingressam na rede de proteção.

Outro aspecto a se considerar, é que o acolhimento familiar se adequa ao que está preconizado em normativas internacionais sobre os direitos da criança e do adolescente, como também a legislação nacional sobre o assunto. Assim, a Convenção sobre os Direitos da Criança (ONU, 1989) – ratificada pelo Brasil em 1990 – trata em seus artigos oitavo e nono sobre a necessidade de ser respeitada a cultura e identidade da criança e preservar seus vínculos com a família de origem (Luna, 2004). Zela também pela proteção especial dedicada à infância, ao desenvolvimento individual e social integral da criança, compartilhando de muitos princípios que foram inseridos no Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente [ECA] (Lei No. 8.069, 1990) quando da sua elaboração. Dessa forma, o acolhimento familiar propõe ações condizentes com os princípios defendidos por tais normas, priorizando o benefício e a proteção da população atendida pela modalidade, ao atentar para as demandas e necessidades relativas ao seu desenvolvimento.

No Brasil, a Política Nacional de Assistência Social (Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social e Combate à Fome, 2004), proposta pelo Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social e Combate à Fome (MDS) e Secretaria Especial de Direitos Humanos (SEDH) e aprovada pelo Conselho Nacional de Assistência Social (CNAS), prevê modalidades de atendimento assistencial destinadas a atender famílias que se encontram em situação de risco pessoal e social, sendo que os programas de acolhimento familiar aparecem como serviços de proteção social especial de alta complexidade, por garantirem proteção integral (moradia, alimentação, higienização e trabalho protegido) aos seus usuários. A proteção social especial prioriza novas modalidades de atendimento, visando à reestruturação de serviços de abrigamento.

O acolhimento familiar se propõe a atender crianças e adolescentes em situação de vulnerabilidade social ou violência doméstica, que têm seus direitos violados (Gomes, 2004). À família acolhedora são concedidas a guarda provisória e a responsabilidade pela criança acolhida, tendo para com ela todos os deveres de guardião. Essa família deve ser voluntária no processo de acolhimento, ser selecionada e receber treinamento prévio (Enout, 2004). Além disso, o caráter provisório tem como objetivo a reintegração à família de origem. Durante o acolhimento, o programa deve propor o acompanhamento da criança, da família de origem e da família acolhedora

A colocação da criança ou adolescente em família acolhedora aparece como uma opção para se evitar a institucionalização e uma forma de se propiciar vivência em família, sem afastamento definitivo da criança de sua família de origem. Isso resulta em modificações nos encaminhamentos para atender às demandas de proteção de crianças e adolescentes, ampliando o sistema de medidas disponíveis de atendimento e diversificando as formas de acolhimento à infância e juventude. Os resultados e o impacto da ampliação e qualificação dos serviços de proteção ainda não podem ser avaliados, por se encontrarem em fase de implantação no território nacional, mas certamente trarão melhorias na garantia de direitos e na qualidade de vida de seus usuários.

Domestic violence encompasses not only physical, sexual and psychological violence, but also the neglect and abandonment category (Bazon, 2008). It can be considered that this is the main cause reported in the program studied by (Barros Martins et al., 2010) regarding the withdrawal of children/adolescents from their respective families and their consequent entry into the protection network in the period 1998 to 2007 Of the registered children, 198 cases can be characterized as domestic violence, or 66% of the total.

The problems to be faced in this proposal are to (Barros Martins et al., 2010): the lack of information on families of origin, which reflects the non-accomplishment of the work of monitoring the same by the technical staff of the program; and the confrontation of the causal factors of the withdrawal of the child or adolescent from his family, where negligence stands out as the preponderant motive.

As características das famílias acolhedoras do programa investigado por (Barros Martins et al., 2010) se assemelham muito àquelas abordadas em outros estudos nacionais e internacionais produzidos na área, indicando a mesma configuração familiar de casais com filhos, a faixa etária dos acolhedores entre 30 e 49 anos, o bom nível de escolarização, motivações solidárias e relativas à preocupação social para participação em programas de acolhimento familiar e, ainda, o longo tempo despendido pelas mães acolhedoras nos cuidados com as crianças e adolescentes acolhidos. Sobre os acolhidos, converge a maior incidência de acolhimentos de crianças de até seis anos de idade nos estudos apresentados, e a experiência de colocação de adolescentes em famílias acolhedoras do presente programa difere de outros no país.



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[1] The Institute of Applied Economic Research is a Brazilian government-led research organization dedicated to generation of macroeconomical, sectorial and thematic studies in order to base government planning and policy making. It was created on 1964 and, as of January 2005, it had about 560 employees.

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