Across Latin America and the Caribbean, countries have been reforming their child protection and care systems in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the 2009 UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children (hereafter, the UN Guidelines). Progress is being made: most states have reformed their legislation in line with the UNCRC, many have created new and stronger child protection architectures and some have diversified their offer by promoting family strengthening and family based care programmes.
However, there is still progress to be made in ensuring the rights of children without parental care. This is particularly timely as 2019 marked the 10th anniversary of the UN Guidelines, the 30th anniversary of the UNCRC, and the launch of the UN General Assembly Resolution on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children which focuses on children with parental care hereafter, the UN Resolution.
There are still many challenges ahead. We collectively acknowledge that the reforms taken are complex and challenging. We need to advance further to ensure that family strengthening, prevention and appropriate alternative care – used only as measure of last resort, temporary and for the shortest duration – form the bedrock of child protection and care systems that fulfil children’s rights.