Children in Institutions: The beginning of the end?

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UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti

In recent years, countries in Latin America have engaged in a critical debate on the institutionalisation of children and adolescents as a response to family problems, disabilities, financial problems and types of conduct perceived as a threat to society. The new paradigm established by the Convention on the Rights of the Child with regard to the relations between children and families, society and the state, has shifted the focus of the debate on institutionalisation from technical and systems management issues and the effect of institutionalisation on children, to a policy and strategic outlook aimed at generating opportunities for human development to all. This publication provides an account of historical processes in Spain and Italy, which have led to a transformation of social child protection policies and an abandonment of the most widely-used mechanism of social exclusion, namely institutionalisation

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