Children and Adolescents without Parental Care in Latin America: Contexts, causes, and consequences of being deprived of the right to family


Children and adolescents who live without or are at risk of losing parental care for different reasons are more at risk of being exposed to poverty, discrimination and exclusion, which in turn make them more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and abandonment.

This paper aims to show different organisations, institutions, governments and civil society the reality facing thousands of children in Latin America.  This information can be used as a tool for debating and prioritising the issue as well as promoting constructing good practices and public policies that will improve the wellbeing and chances to develop of children without parental care and/or who are at risk of losing it.

This paper can be used as a tool for advocacy, to promote and defend child rights. Understanding their situation will lead to an ever-growing commitment to work towards finding more opportunities, improving our practices and related legislation, and seeking more funding and tools for implementing them properly. 

The countries where information was gathered were Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.  It should be mentioned that for many of the variables that we aimed to analyse there are no data, neither official nor from academic bodies or organizations dedicated to protecting child rights in much of the region. Therefore, the reader will notice that in the Latin American report and this paper some of the key information is missing in some of the 13 countries studied. Nevertheless, using the situation of Latin American children as a backdrop, this paper is a huge step forward giving us an overall view of the situation of one of the most fundamental rights - the right to parental care, a keystone for the right to live in a family and a community.