Thursday, 30 Oct 2014

A life free from violence in Mexico

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It is impossible to overestimate the importance of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the difference it has made to changing the way we think about children and how we treat them.

Through making child rights explicit, indivisible and equally applicable to all, the UNCRC provides clear principles and standards with which to look at how well we are doing by our children, how near or far we are from ensuring that every child can reach their potential. While there is still a long way to go, it is important to appreciate the huge gains that have been made as a result of articulating children´s rights.

Through making child rights explicit, indivisible and equally applicable to all, the UNCRC provides clear principles and standards”

In Mexico, JUCONI works with the hardest to reach families who are struggling with violence and poverty. They do not come to ask for help, we approach them. What gives us the moral authority and courage to knock uninvited on a family´s door, to offer help, is the UNCRC and the knowledge that their children have a right to a caring family, to education, to be taken into account, to be given opportunities and that we have the obligation and responsibility to do our utmost to ensure they are able to enjoy these rights.

The Guidelines brings “families” to the fore and places them at the heart and soul of children´s lives and therefore of society”

The UN Guidelines for Alternative Care (Guidelines) validate and provide a legitimate framework for our work which firmly places a caring and supportive family at the centre of every child´s life. By clearly articulating a set of guiding principles they provide a blueprint for services and standards of care. One of the greatest benefits of the Guidelines is that they place a specific emphasis on the obligation to prevent the separation of children from their families. This gives us a powerful tool for advocating for the prioritisation of resources for a wide and interconnected range of services for families in Mexico and, as such, it provides a meaningful back-up to the UNCRC which, in its preamble, calls for families to be provided with the support they need to be able to fulfil their responsibilities. The Guidelines brings “families” to the fore and places them at the heart and soul of children´s lives and therefore of society and squarely puts the onus on services and support to look at the family systemically as a whole. Over time, this can only help ensure the sustainability of outcomes for children.

The impact of the UNCRC and of the AGAC has already been significant, even in this short 5 years, as the phrase “family first” is already reverberating through government and civil society. In Mexico where the concept of foster families was unheard of and is still largely unknown, there are already a few pilot schemes and a growing interest in the potential foster care offers.It is the depth and breadth of the CRC and of the Guildelines which drive us to strive to provide the support of the caliber needed to ensure children develop to their full potential and to hold authorities and society accountable for providing the resources needed to do so.

Alison Lane, General Director, Juconi
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Member: JUCONI      Topic: Family Strengthening